Dear CR List,
I'm sorry I did not provide more detail as to why I felt that Mario's tools were sold in unfortunate circumstances. After 8 pages of a sad story, I thought I had gone on long enough. I should have left out that statement without it's supporting detail, not having done so leaves a crack for fuzzy "logic" .
The details are:
Following Mario's death, I spoke to his wife and offered my assistance. After all, I had been involved in his business and could assist in tying up his affairs. She told me everything would be handled by her attorney and I should send a letter to Mario's business PO Box. I heard nothing for some time and made several calls to check see how she was doing. Every time I called he burst into tears, she was incapable of handling any reminders of Mario. A year after his death, I got my letter to the attorney back, unopened, marked unclaimed. I called Lisa again and this time someone was wither who explained that the lawyer had not collected the mail form the PO Box and apparently the PO had returned it when the PO box rental expired. Further, he explained that Lisa was still in a tenuous mental state and that she had avoided all reminders of Mario. She was planning to return to her family in Texas. He said that Lisa had never opened the door of Mario's garage workshop since his death. Would I please come look at the shop. They needed to dispose of the contents of the garage. I agreed and came over immediately.
I visited with Lisa and her friend, (a young golf pro who's name I don't recall) on a Thursday at her home. My conversations with Lisa were very limited by her severe grief. She told me that she had given all of Mario's clothes and personal things away a few days after his death, because she could not sleep in the house with them there. He had made the garage his domain and so she just kept it locked. She said now she just wanted everything gone so she did not have to think about it. She wanted to arrange a time when she would be gone and her friend could let me in to take it away. After sharing some more personal stories about Mario, she retired to her bedroom. I sat at talked with her friend, I had still not been in the garage. He told me that she had not been able to work much since Mario's death and until the house sold she could use the money. He had made efforts to sell the tools but did not know what they were and had received only and offers of $200, which he felt sure was too low. I agreed to offer a fair price and went into take the inventory. It was quite emotional for me as well. There were several surprises, like three new full Campagnolo tool chests; French, Italian and English! Mario had rebuilt many of the tools we had lost to Medici and had somehow amassed a considerable inventory. I did not find the lug molds and there were no frames in progress, he was obviously still setting the shop up, having married at Lisa only two weeks before his death.
My concern at that time was how to raise enough cash to make a fair offer. Although this was a year after Mario's death, I had only become aware of this situation that day and now that the garage had been opened, Lisa was more agitated about the contents and there seemed to be an urgency to remove them. I had no savings and no discretionary income at that time. I could not make an offer I could back up immediately, that seemed fair to me. I told the friend I needed time to prepare an offer. To return with my offer the following Tuesday.
My intent was to make a reasonable offer, and to keep the core of the Confente tools together. I considered building frames. I considered donating the tools to a school. I sold everything I could that weekend. There were many things I could not use, some duplicated things I already owned. I created a list of things I might sell to increase my offer to Lisa. And I created a list of a few things like Mario's brazing goggles that I had a real sentimental bond to. Perhaps in my efforts, news leaked to EuroAsia and gave Bob Hansing the opportunity to purchase.
Then I arrived as agreed on Tuesday Lisa's friend meat me at the door and explained that a man had arrived Sunday, and offered to buy Mario's shop. Because the friend had never seen Bob before, he assumed I had sent Bob. Lisa was away from the house at the time and so the goods could be moved without her being stressed by witnessing it. Lisa had already offered me the shop to me for free, I had told him I would make an offer, but Bob had $800 in his hand.
I was saddened by all this, and extremely frustrated, but this was just another in the long tradegy of Mario's life.
Again, am sorry for having attempted to tell a truncated version of this. I admit "unscrupulous" was too strong a term for the way the buy was made. I don't actually know how much Bob knew, but he knew he was getting a steal.
I know that initially Bob sold the bulk of the goods immediately to a neophyte builder, who soon thereafter sold it to Roland Della Santa. Soon after he got them he called me to inquire about how some of them were used. Roland is a worthy as anyone to use those tools.
There is some truth to Steven L. Sheffield's suggestion that "all the trouble with Masi/Medici is what killed Mario, and didn't want to sell his tools to anyone associated with that operation. She was so upset at everything that happened that she just wanted to get rid of the tools of the trade that killed her husband as quickly as possible ... money is not what mattered, but erasing the bad memories."
I know that Mario had very reluctantly decided to do some consulting to Masi, which is where he was going on the morning of his death. Certainly hard work did not improve his health. Mario had only days before made arrangements with me to bring his next batch of frames to paint, and we were making other business plans. It is possible that Lisa or her friend felt uneasy about that fact that I was sharing a building with the Masi company at that time. I did not get that vibe however, as Lisa repeatedly thanked me for the help I had given Mario and had offered to give me all his tools in recognition of my loyalty to him.
JFC ~ CyclArtist
First great riding day in a while!