Rick and Marty Lagina talk History Channel’s “The Curse of Oak Island”


Ever since they were kids Rick and Marty Lagina have shared an insatiable desire (Rick a little more than Marty) to solve the mystery surrounding Oak Island, a 140-acre island off the coast of Nova Scotia believed to be the resting place of ancient treasures dating back to the Knights Templar (some even believe the Ark of the Covenant is located there). The legends about deadly curses and glorious treasures have fascinated explorers for over 200 years. It’s been a maddening process but they are determined to see it through.

We recently talked to the lovable Lagina brothers, Marty and Rick, who now co-own the island and are the subject of History’s hit series The Curse of Oak Island, currently airing Tuesday nights on History. The Michigan-based brothers fielded our questions on if they get to the bottom of the money pit, who is paying for all of this and more.

Are we going to get to the bottom of this pit this season?
 Rick, why don’t you answer that?
(Publicist interjects – no spoilers)
Rick: Let’s put it this way. Five months we were up there, and we did a lot of exploration. Let’s leave it at that, and you’ll have to tune in.


OK, I get it. In regards to just the money involved in pursuing this dream, I mean where is all this money coming from?
 Boy, you managed to hit the two forbidden topics in the first two questions.
Marty: You know it’s coming from us. We’re financing it. That’s basically where the money is coming from — us.


Well, the island has a long history of people losing their fortunes – people who have sunk all their money into pursuing this — so how do you prevent yourself from falling into a similar trap?
 The first comment about that, I find that very instructive because when we look back to the history, one of the things we worry about is — is it a hoax? Was the data misreported? But hoaxers don’t do what you just described. They don’t spend their whole lives there, and their entire fortune, looking. The history kind of bears out that everybody was truly intrigued, was truly reporting real findings, and that’s a very significant thing. As to how we make sure we don’t have the same fate, I’m not so sure, Rick?
Rick: What we endeavor to do is that every situation, it’s a financial risk/financial reward within the context of finances, if you will. It’s a judgment call. If you feel like you can’t make progress, of course, then you have to either abandon or limit your activities. That’s basically the parameters under which we’re operating. —  Written by Barb Oates


I meant no offense by asking the question, it’s just like “man, let’s figure this out.” If money wasn’t a factor what would it take to drill three thousand holes on that island and solve this thing once and for all?
 That’s a really good point too, and we saw it by bringing state of the art technology to bear, we figured we would figure this out in a week. [Or a summer, Rick adds]. It proves to be a formidable adversary. You’re right, others had suggested that. Dig the whole thing up. Well, there’s some limits, financial, environmental, to doing it that way. We’re trying to get to the bottom of it, believe me nobody wants to get the final answers better than us, but we made some damn significant progress, I think, this year, and some interesting revelations.


Have you envisioned coming to an end to this story? Like getting to the bottom? What do those dreams look like to you guys?
 I don’t know about the dream, but of course the goal is to solve the mystery — it’s not so much of a treasure, my brother might differ a bit on that, but there is a wonderful story written there. I’d like to put pen to paper and tell that story. We asked our father prior to his passing: “Dad, if there’s real treasure on Oak Island, what should we do with it?” My father didn’t hesitate. He said, “Do good with it.” I guess that would be the end game, if treasure were involved, and I believe that there will be.
Marty: It’s such a puzzle in front of us, I think that’s as far as we thought of it. It’d be a very happy problem, I hope, if we unearth something that big and that historically important. We would have to deal with that then, I guess.


When and how often do you go to Oak Island? I know it’s over the summer season, but how long are you really there?
 We spend the amount time that we can. I’m retired, and Marty still has business adventures ongoing, so he splits his time. We were there overall five months this year. Family and friends come up. Our sisters have come up with their families. Marty’s son, Alex, has participated in the process, and so have our nephews, Peter and David. They’re all somewhat invested. Not all of them believe however.

written by Barb Oates

  • Wylie Stivers

    The very first word of the article is wrong, lol. It says “Every since”, “Ever since” is the grammatically correct usage. Sad, I only have an associates degree in applied science. Maybe I should have done something else, lol.

    • They must have heeded your comment because it now says: “Ever since they were kids…”. Good eye.

  • MaximumMike

    I love this show although they drive me crazy with their all over the place approach to exploration. The should stick to one plan and fulling execute it until that area is exhausted . I am sure that there was some surface treasure in the past, but I think most of that has been found already.

  • common joe

    Financial Risk/Financial Reward…….has there been a reward beyond the show itself that we aren’t all aware of (financially speaking I understand they might find the search rewarding).

    I am a big fan of the show but at some point you have to question some of the purchases. Absolutely anyone watching would think the following:
    1) For all the money on the equipment why not buy your own RC submersible and send it down and keep it down 10X (heck even post it online as a live feed for viewers to spot things). At some point things clear up and you actually see what’s down there.

    2) Similar to 1, why not get a submersible and go down a box drain, stick GPS on it and see where the money pit is for 100%, add a camera and maybe you get lucky and see some stuff? Since the box drains are directly connected…..

    3) when probing for the money pit itself why in the world did they not pre-plan to make a hole such that a camera would go down in it…….

    Sometimes I think the show is a front for what they are actually doing there and the show will show any findings long after all have been found to prevent people from knowing too much or alternatively it will just get cancelled the moment they realize there isn’t anything or whatever was there has already been taken (as the older ladies on one of their last episodes implied).

  • One recommendation for improving that waste of time program, ‘Drilling Down’…. get rid of that dweeb Matty whatever (?). That guy just sets my teeth on edge – like fingernails on a chalk board. His phony, faked enthusiasm is cloying enough to gag a maggot, which, oddly enough, he kind of resembles. Meanwhile, I’ll just continue on course; NOT watching. Otherwise, I love Curse of Oak Island.

  • joevet

    Wait… That is their last name? “Lagina?” I would go straight to the Courthouse and change my name, if I were them, for obvious reasons.

  • Bertdanger

    Since this was about financing the project, I’ll comment from that angle. 1) I think they are financing some of this project with what they are making from the History Channel. 2) Marty Lagina formed Terra Energy in 1992, which would become the largest operator of gas wells in Michigan. He sold that business for $63 million in 1995 and now runs Heritage Wind Energy, a renewable energy provider. 3) I believe that the original african american guy who owned the land there in the 1800s found the treasure already. Remember stories that he paid his bills with gold coins, spanish 8? Where did he get all the gold coins if he didn’t already find the treasure? Thus, I think this entire thing is a huge hoax and history channel is just making money on advertising and paying these guys to keep the hoax going……..

  • Frank Hunter

    This is a scam to make a show on the History Channel as the treasure, such as it was, has already been found and spent. Everyone knows it and any other suggestion is just delusional.