Oak Island’s legend has captivated people for centuries, but there’s more than treasure that everyone is looking for. Season after season, History’s channel “The Curse of Oak Island” has kept us on the edge of our seats, by showing us the most intriguing and mind-blowing mysteries surrounding the treasure’s legend, all the while trying to find the truth hidden somewhere on the island.
Nonetheless, even though the Lagina brothers are at the forefront of the action, they’re so much more than just a couple of guys who hunt a centuries-old treasure. When it comes to Marty Lagina, there’s a whole fascinating story about where the idea of exploring Oak Island with his brother came from and how he passed from being a successful businessman to becoming an adventurer and explorer.
Are you ready to know who Marty Lagina is, his beginnings, career, family, and finances? Then stay here with us!
It’s never late to get to know where our favorite TV stars come from, especially when it comes to someone as interesting and knowledgeable as Martin ‘Marty’ Lagina, born on 26 August 1955 in Kingsford, Michigan, the younger brother of Rick and son of George and Ann Lagina.
In 1977, he graduated with a Mechanical Engineering degree from Michigan Technological University, even though his early goal was to go a different career path: ‘I was thinking of going to law school, and my father told me: ‘You would make a better lawyer if you knew how things worked’,’ he said in a 2020’s interview with his alma mater.
Marty extended his studies to Law at the University of Michigan, where he was awarded a Juris Doctorate in 1982, although he’d already begun working as a petroleum engineer for Amoco Production Company in 1979, and later started a consulting business. Despite working for a wide variety of local oil-related corporations, money limitations led Marty to manage his consulting business from a closet-sized room with the help of his associate Craig Tester, his former college roommate, who is now also known for his appearances in “The Curse Of Oak Island”.
Met Marty Lagina from the Curse of Oak Island at the airport. I'm huge fan of the show! Good luck hunting treasure! pic.twitter.com/64V0JWhHnA
— Chris Hammons (@hamm0481) September 11, 2016
Following his graduation from the University of Michigan and using the experience already earned in the petroleum field, in 1982 Marty Lagina and Craig Tester founded Terra Energy Ltd. The company’s main goal was to develop the natural gas resources from the Antrim Shale formation, eventually turning it into the major gas source for Michigan.
By the mid-1990s Terra Energy had already become the largest operator of its industry in Michigan, but it was time for a change. In 1996, Marty and Craig sold the company to CMS Energy, using the $58 million from the sale to found Heritage Sustainable Energy in 2004. The company eventually became a pioneer in wind-sourced energy in Michigan, owning over 90 turbines and wind farms all around the state before selling most of them, and turning to solar energy almost in full: ‘I’ve always been interested (in) how we fuel our economy. And I’m a mechanical engineer. I believe for several reasons we need to change over to renewables and/or nuclear,’ he told Traverse Ticker in 2022.
Nowadays, Heritage Sustainable Energy is the Michigan-based biggest solar energy provider, achieving the goal Marty had in mind even before selling his gas company.
Winery & Family
Besides his sustainable energy company, Marty Lagina owns a wide variety of businesses based in his native Michigan, going from retail to wood providers. However, his winery Mari Vineyards is doubtless one of his most prolific businesses, and demonstrates how diverse his career truly is.
Founded in 1999 in the Old Mission Peninsula town, Mari Vineyards is a tribute in name to his grandmother and Italian heritage. It’s also a reminder of Marty’s relentless search for doing things differently, as the winery had the purpose of producing high-quality varieties which weren’t common in the state. Planting and sowing their own grapes proved to be the business’ earliest challenge, due to Marty’s lack of experience, but it didn’t take long before Mari Vineyards produced its iconic Row 7 wine.
Nowadays, over sixty acres of grapes have been planted on Mari Vineyard’s property, finally opening their winery in 2016 with the building of their wine cave, the only one active in Michigan. As read on Mari Vineyard’s website, the business is a family dream come true, thus it’s not surprising to find out that the general manager is Alex, Marty’s son, who also appeared in “The Curse Of Oak Island”.
Alex and his sister Maddie are Marty and his wife Olivia’s only children.
Fascination With Oak Island
Even though Marty Lagina is very invested in finding the truth behind the legendary treasure of Oak Island, the truth is that his early fascination with it has a lot to do with his brother. In his early teens, Rick read a then-recently published 1965 edition of Reader’s Digest entitled “Oak Island’s Mysterious ‘Money Pit’” written by David MacDonald, which detailed the story of the treasure supposedly hidden in the island, and all of those who until then had relentlessly searched for it with not many positive results. At least 170 years from the first treasure exploration had already passed when the article was published, and unbeknownst to Rick and Marty at the time, the same article would also inspire the legendary Dan Blankenship to search for the treasure.
The young Rick was just too enthralled by the story that not only did he convince his younger brother Marty to share that enthusiasm with him, but also didnt forget about it despite the passing of time. Eventually, Marty and Rick were old enough to have careers and full-time jobs, but that didn’t stop them from still discussing the topic of Oak Island’s treasure from time to time.
Oak Island’s Adventure
Despite their long-held interest in Oak Island’s mystery, Marty and Rick Lagina didn’t make a move about it until the early 1990s. Before that, the brothers had followed Dan Blankenship’s treasure search on the island as much as possible from Michigan but didn’t have any contact with the explorer until Dan started looking for new investors to keep the operation running.
Marty and Rick traveled to Nova Scotia, Canada to find Dan, but their meeting was cut short by a business call Dan received at the time, leaving the Lagina brothers no time to propose an association with the veteran explorer. Over a decade passed before Rick and Marty met Dan again, but this time they had the full intention of buying a portion of the island, after seeing it on sale in a newspaper ad. By 2006, the brothers had also bought half of the shares of Oak Island Tours, becoming associates of Dan as the first step into joining his treasure hunt.
Oak Island eventually became the property of the Michigan Group, which was formed by the Lagina brothers and other associates. The business has now been financing its ongoing treasure-hunting operations on the island for over a decade.
Despite exploring Oak Island since the early 2000s, “The Curse Of Oak Island” wouldn’t premiere until 2014 on the History channel. Nonetheless, appearing on TV wasn’t Marty and Rick’s goal when they set up their treasure hunt activities – it was hit TV producer Kevin Burns who caught word of what was going on in Oak Island, traveling to the place to convince the Laginas and associates to give the career of TV personalities a try.
Despite Marty’s initial skepticism about the show, Rick’s interest in spreading the word about the treasure was the decisive factor in accepting Burns’ offer. Sooner than later, “The Curse Of Oak Island” was on air, and attracted a large number of viewers, who quickly became enthralled by the island’s mystery, just as had happened to Rick, Marty and Dan when they read that iconic Reader’s Digest article back in the 1960s.
Regarding the show’s legitimacy, in an interview with Reality Blurred, Marty and Rick Lagina affirmed that all of it it’s real. Of course, some editing with storyline-clarity purposes, close-up shots, and on-site interviews is done to keep the audiences interested and put a good show on screen, but scripts and staging are out of the question. On the same line, there’s no denying that Marty and his brother Rick haven’t let their global fame get to their heads, using that popularity to spread the word about their mission instead.
Is Marty Rich?
We’ve looked over Marty Lagina’s vast and diverse career, but the question of whether or not he’s as rich as presumed doesn’t escape people’s minds. That being said, Marty’s current net worth is calculated at over $100 million, resulting from his several businesses and career as a TV personality.
Regarding the Lagina brothers’ financial purposes related to Oak Island, it’s simply assumed that both brothers are after the treasure for financial reasons, but that’s not exactly true. While Rick is more interested in the story of the island and the origins of the supposed treasure, Marty is looking for something ‘fabulous’, but also doesn’t let the emotional part get through to him, choosing instead to be the team’s voice of reason.
For Marty, the treasure hunt is only one of the things he’s passionate about, but his career has already been filled with many accomplishments, coming from his hard-working days as an independent consultant, to owning several companies and being an energy industry pioneer. Whether or not he and his brother Rick find the so-called Oak Island treasure, there’s no denying that their unrelenting passion has already taken them too far.