Searching for an old, legendary treasure hidden in a distant island sounds just like the dream of any child, or at least that’s what people who have never watched “The Curse of Oak Island” might think.
Said History channel’s show, filmed completely on Nova Scotia’s Oak Island brings some light into the centuries-old mystery surrounding the place. Nonetheless, anyone who has watched the series has noticed the explorations made are not cheap, which brings out a big question: where does the money for those operations come from?
As expected, we have the answer to that question as well, as we will reveal details about the finances of “The Curse Of Oak Island” and its cast, so sit down and enjoy it!
Who Are “The Curse Of Oak Island” Financiers?
Before getting into who pays for the treasure search operations on Oak Island, it’s firstly important to know who are its owners.
Since the early 1700s, the island has been owned by a variety of people with treasure hunting aspirations. As is already known, the long searched for treasure hasn’t been found through the more than three centuries of explorations. However, the hopes of several hunters haven’t been deterred yet, and as expected, that’s the reason the island continues to be a private property nowadays.
Fast forward to recent years; sources state that Dan Blankenship’s and David Tobias’ founded company Oak Island Tours Inc. used to own the land in partnership until 2019, when Tobias sold his share. While it’s known the Lagina brothers had bought an interest in the company in 2004, after Tobias’ exit Blankenship renewed his partnership with the Michigan Group’s members Alan Kostrzewa, Craig Tester and of course with the Lagina brothers Marty and Rick. Together, these men are now the land’s private owners, and the ones who fund the explorations nowadays.
Although it’s not known who owned the biggest percentage in the newly created partnership of the island, it’s known Marty Lagina is the main proprietor of the Michigan Group, followed by Tester as the second biggest shareholder. Unfortunately, Blankenship died not long after the agreement was made, and it’s unknown if his son David took ownership of his share.
While that answers the question of who pays for the treasure hunts on Oak Island, it’s worth noting that the Lagina brothers and associates have invested over $5 million into operations for almost two decades. This is also the reason they became eligible in 2017, to receive an incentive of over $1 million from the Nova Scotia Business Inc.
How Profitable Is The Project?
As already known, people are greatly interested in topics related to the island’s finances, so it’s not surprising that there are many questions regarding whether or not the project is just money thrown into the trash can, or if it’s actually going somewhere.
While the old, legendary treasure for which the land is famous hasn’t been found yet, it could be said that “The Curse of Oak Island” has helped to compensate the Lagina brothers and associates’ money.
Throughout the eight seasons it’s been on air, the show has become one of History channel’s top reality series, and with several equipment brands, has become interested in advertising their products with the series. Whether it’s through the cast endorsement or by strategically placing their products in the series, these paid promotions are undeniably financially good for the network and everyone who’s involved with “The Curse Of Oak Island”. In addition to that, salaries are also paid for appearing in the show.
Besides that, the series’ wide fame has allowed Oak Islands Tours Inc. to establish itself as a profitable tourist business, by offering guided tours of the island and its main attraction points.
As the company promotes on its website, the guides also provide interested visitors with educational and historical information about the land and it’s legendary treasure.
All in all, Oak Island might not have led treasure hunters anywhere close to discover whatever is buried in it just yet, but the mystery surrounding the land surely has been popularized enough to become a money-making attraction for people around the world.
How Much Is The Treasure Worth?
If you’re familiar with the mystery of Oak Island, you might already know that although what is buried in it is supposed to be game-changing for North America’s history, there’s still not a clear idea of what the treasure actually is.
Back to the late 1700s, when what is nowadays known as the island’s Money Pit was discovered, it was already suspected something was hidden in it, considering several human-made constructions found there.
Their suspicions weren’t wrong though, as more recent radiocarbon analysis have detected that the place was most likely built in the 1500s, and with it the mystery has only taken more force.
So what’s in the Pit? The alleged treasure has always been connected to Captain Kidd, a Scottish sailor who was executed by England’s Parliament in the early 1700s after being found guilty of piracy and murder.
While a small part of Kidd’s valuable goods were indeed buried by himself on Gardiners Island, his connection to the Oak Island treasure is mostly speculation at this point. Regardless of whether or not the island’s mystery is connected to the famous pirate, theorists claim there’s a probability that what’s in the Pit could be the Knights Templars’ treasure, which would seem rather far-fetched, since the group were in strength in the fifteenth century.
Considering that, if the Oak Island’s treasure legend ever turns out to be true, the findings could have a monetary value of several millions. Historical value is the most important thing here though, as in the best of cases it could mean finding a lost piece of world’s history.
What Is The Net Worth of “The Curse Of Oak Island”s Cast Members?
Reportedly, each cast member of “The Curse of Oak Island” receives a salary per season, though it’s unclear exactly how much they exactly earn for appearing in it.
He’s the main reason “The Curse Of Oak Island” exists, and that’s because he became enthralled by the mystery decades ago. It started when he read about the island and its treasure legend back in 1965 in Reader’s Digest, and couldn’t get it out of his mind since. He also showed said article to his younger brother Marty, who would accompany him in this adventure later in life.
Even if Rick has always been a dreamer, his main attractiveness to “The Curse Of Oak Island” fans is his genuine personality and humility, which he also applies when it comes to his goals on the island. Truth be told, forgotten are his expectations of finding a treasure per se on the island, as he’s more interested in finding answers to the many questions that have arisen throughout the centuries-long explorations in the Pit: ‘Is the treasure still there? I believe it is. But whether or not there actually is a treasure, there is a wonderful story there’, he told the website My North in 2015.
Although Rick might look like an extraordinary guy for daring to pursue such a risky goal, he’s actually a pretty normal guy who worked in a postal office until his retirement. It wasn’t until 2004 that he and his brother Marty became associates of Oak Island Tours Inc., and started explorations later on as part owners of the land.
Even if the treasure hunt hasn’t led to a concrete conclusion, Rick’s involvement with the island has turned out profitably for him. Reportedly, he has a net worth of $3.5 million resulting from his interest in Oak Island Tours Inc., and the TV show.
He’s the financial driving force behind the project of discovering the Oak Island treasure, though aside from TV, Marty Lagina has a stable career as an engineer and businessman.
In 1977 he graduated with a degree of Mechanical Engineering from Michigan Tech, and in 1982 he was awarded a Juris Doctorate by the University of Michigan. Beside his quite impressive educational background, Marty also has a prolific career in the oil field, having worked for a variety of local corporations until 1982, when he founded his own company Terra Energy Ltd., which focused on producing gas energy for Michigan.
Although he later sold the company, he continues with investments in the same field. This ultimately led him to found Heritage Energy in 2004, which is focused on providing over 50,000 Michigan homes with sustainable energy.
As if that wasn’t enough, Marty’s love for wine led him to create Mari Vineyards in his Michigan villa. While during seven years the project was infructuous, in 2006 the vineyard finally produced its first original wine, and from then on business has been booming, and has even become a local tourist attraction.
Due to this, it’s not hard to imagine that Marty Lagina’s fortune is quite impressive. Nowadays, his net worth is estimated at over $100 million, resulting from his many businesses and his investment in Oak Island Tours Inc.
Not only has Craig Tester been Marty Lagina’s business partner for a long while, they have also maintained a decades-long friendship from the time both of them attended Michigan Tech. After both of them graduated with degrees in Mechanical Engineering, they co-founded Terra Energy in the early 1980s.
After selling their company, Craig and Marty co-founded Heritage Company, and went on to create the Michigan Group as well. While Craig’s role as a business partner is important, his engineering expertise is an essential part of “The Curse Of Oak Island” as well.
His expectations regarding the project are not that big though. As Craig has explained, the operations on Oak Island have been fun from an engineering perspective, but he doesn’t have high hopes when it comes to what’s buried in the Pit, as he considers it could be something really important or nothing at all.
Regardless of his somewhat logical point of the treasure hunt, appearing in the show as well as his involvement with Oak Island Tours Inc. has been profitable for him, which added to his other businesses have led Craig Tester to have an approximate net worth of $5 million.
He was probably the most knowledgeable individual regarding the treasure hunt on Oak Island to ever appear in the show.
As a World War II veteran, Dan Blankenship was said to not be afraid of anything. Maybe that’s the reason he was so determined to find whatever’s buried on the island, having dedicated over five decades of his life on finding the answers to the mystery surrounding it.
Interestingly enough, Dan’s interest in the treasure legend was awakened by the same 1965 edition of Reader’s Digest that enthralled Rick Lagina back in the day.
However, at that time Dave and his wife Jane actually had the means to buy a share in Oak Island Treasure Company, which was leading the explorations at the time.
Decades passed, and Blankenship eventually formed a partnership with David Tobias to found Oak Island Tours Inc. Dan’s contributions to the project are invaluable though. He wasn’t only one of its main money-contributors, he maintained the (supposed) myth for decades, and even passed on his knowledge to the next generation.
At the time of Dan Blankenship’s death in 2019, he had an estimated net worth of $1 million, resulting from his business associations and his appearances in “The Curse Of Oak Island”.
Following the steps of his father Marty, Alex Lagina also studied Mechanical Engineering, and his expertise in the field has led him to become an important member of the treasure hunt on Oak Island, while at the same time managing to take care of his family’s wine business.
Alex Lagina’s estimated net worth is $50 million, resulting from his appearances in “The Curse Of Oak Island” in addition to his personal businesses.
He’s the son of Dan Blankenship and accompanied him from the start of his adventures on the island. However, in an article posted by the Chronicle Herald in 2019, Dave confessed that he was going to step away from the Oak Island treasure hunt.
Even if Dave supposedly left the project for good, it’s unknown if he sold his father’s share of Oak Island Tours Inc. Either way, Dave Blankenship has an estimated net worth of $1 million, as of early 2021.
While it’s unfortunate that the myth surrounding Oak Island hasn’t resulted in anything yet, the project has undeniably become legendary itself. The big question is: will any treasure ever be found? Whatever the answer might be, it has been a good source of entertainment for viewers of the show, and a great business and profitable tourist attraction.