I agree with Brian that people are tired of this by now. I certainly am. We obviously have some sincere and emotional disagreement about a lengendary figure between several people who knew him, all of whom are highly respected in the sport. Each person is, I think, total convinced that his own perception of the events that took place and of the various parties' relationships with Mario and each other is the true story. Can we leave it at that? Differences of opinion that haven't been resolved in over 20 years won't be resolved here.
Brian Baylis wrote:
> Message-ID: <3AA57925.4C85@adnc.com>
> Date: Tue, 06 Mar 2001 15:56:21 -0800
> From: Brian Baylis <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> Reply-To: email@example.com
> X-Mailer: Mozilla 3.04 (Win95; I)
> MIME-Version: 1.0
> To: firstname.lastname@example.org
> Subject: When Worlds Collide...My apologies
> References: <LPBBIKPCFJMAAHLIAKJMOEEOCCAA.email@example.com> <3AA49323.firstname.lastname@example.org>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii
> Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
> Jim Allen,
> Thanks for clarifying something I have known for over 20 years. Having
> to exercise professional courtesy for this long has been trying. It was
> no secret with Mike and Gian at Medici how Mario felt about Jim
> Cunningham. I heard it all back then. It turns out that a "demand"
> letter was presented to Roland Sham on Marios' behalf which resulted in
> Mario being "let go" from Masi. That's how the potential Rechct
> involvement with Masi turned into Bicycles by Confente. That letter is
> what is refered to by JFC as a "business plan" in his accounts of these
> I feel obligated to now finish the Mario tool story without being afraid
> of "crossing the line". It is neccessary to do this in the memory of Bob
> Hansing from Euro-Asia Imports, who has recently passed away. I also
> feel that since everybody has sat through this, they should at least
> hear the actual true story.
> To keep the story short, I'll get to the point. The actual fact is that
> the ONLY person that Mario/Lisa didn't want to have the tools was Jim.
> Therefore to call the other parties unscrupulous is unfair. The seller
> got what they wanted.
> I also doubt that the tooling was worth anywhere near $20,000 for these
> reasons. First, Mario had just come from Monterey where he did not own
> much of anything other than a few small fixtures which I will explain
> shortly. I personally saw the workshop Mario worked in there because
> George Farrier wanted me to "work" for him also. When I visited; in the
> shop were a complete set of tools, a granite surface plate, and a jig
> plate. This obviously was after Mario had been there. I declined the
> offer, but I did build a bike for him and a bike for some friend of his.
> We also know that the day Mario passed away they were scheduled to go
> pick up a granite plate, so that was not part of what was in the garage.
> I can understand Mario having an Italian campy tool case, or even two;
> but not one each of Italian, English, French. Doesn't make sense.
> The way Mario built frames was unique as far as I've seen. Mario would
> first braze a head tube to a down tube at an angel I don't know how he
> determined. He had a few simple "angel blocks" to account for a few
> different down tube angles. There were blocks for other sub-assemblies
> also. This in itself is very odd, but Marios fixturing for this system
> was of little or no use to pretty much any framebuilder. So his whole
> sub-assenbly system did not comprise much value. I know that Roland
> Della Santa has not made use of these tools. Each builder has his own
> At Marios passing there was not a very large collection of tools and
> equipment. Ted Kirkbride had access to everything and simply had no need
> for that which was offered. And offered only because Lisa was moving
> back to Texas and had to clear out the garage. I believe the tale of
> grief is a bit out of line. If $20,000 worth of tooling was offered to
> someone in the business for $800 and he passes it to another person in
> the business who buys it for (or offers, or however that figure was
> arrived at) for that sum, then the stuff was probably worth $800. The
> fact that these people wouldn't sell it to Jim for more money clearly
> supports my statement above.
> It's also safe to say that there was no "business plan" between Jim and
> Mario, had Mario gotten set up in San Marcos. As a matter of fact Mario
> made it clear to Jim Allen would he would be painting any Confente
> frames built in San Marcos. I believe it is safe to extend that to the
> Recht affair also. I will refrain from explaining why, but trust me.
> I regret having to reveal these things about someone whom (believe it or
> not) I respect and whose work and contributions to the craft and
> industry are obvious. Let this not detract from that. Their work speaks
> for itself. This is not about business. I just could not stand by and
> have the waters muddied by these confusing accounts when our goal here
> is to gather knowledge and preserve it somehow for the future. My only
> goal is accuracy.
> I hope Jim will accept my apology for being a part of this, but I could
> not (nor would not have) done it without his nimble assistance.
> In closing, I apologize to the group for this outburst (in it's
> entirety; but it all started as an innocent Medici story) but I felt it
> neccessary in order to not add any myths or confusion regarding the life
> and work of a great man. There is plenty of it already. I believe his
> memory is best served by remembering him through his work, not Jim
> There are more details going back as far as events at Masi, Carlsbad
> that explain more about Mario and what actually happened; but I suspect
> people are quite tired of all of this by now. I'll let Jim decide
> wheather it is neccessary to fill in the details.
> Brian Baylis
> Saddened by the neccessity of these actions.
> > List,
> > Jim Cunningham makes some claims below that don't match my experience at
> > the time.
> > Jim Cunningham wrote:
> > > Dear CR List,
> > --- major snip ---
> > > The details are:
> > > 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
> > > Vista, CA
> > > First great riding day in a while!
> > >
> > >
> > Shortly before his death Mario contacted Rene Moser, Masi Bicycle
> > company manager in Rancho Sante Fe. Mario wanted to meet with the owner,
> > Roland Sahm, to discuss the possibility of resuming his relationship
> > with Masi. Mario may have been reluctant but he initiated the renewal of
> > his relationship with Masi. His vision was to be the master framebuilder
> > and instructor for Masi and also to build frames under his own name.
> > Following his meeting with Roland Sahm, Mario came to visit the shop in
> > San Marcos. Ted Kirkbride and I gave him a tour of the facility. Jim
> > Cunningham lived in a small building next door to the shop (San Marcos'
> > orginal gas station) and he was home when Mario visited us. His windows
> > looked out into the parking area, parking for our facility was in front
> > of Jim Cunningham's building, yet at no time during the visit did Jim
> > Cunningham come out to greet Mario.
> > During the course of the visit Mario noted the area Cyclart was using
> > and commented that he did not want Mr. Cunningham touching his frames.
> > Logic, fuzzy or otherwise, leads to questions about Jim Cunninghams'
> > representation of his relation with Mario Confente subsequent to the
> > events at Bill Recht's facilities in Los Angeles. If Jim Cunningham was
> > as close to Mario as he states, he would have known he was coming to the
> > shop and if not, it would seem he would at least have come over to say hi.
> > In closing, I quote a respected framebuilder and list member "Why is
> > this guy making a career out of working with Mario for six months?" And
> > no, it was not R. Brian Baylis! A friend is fond of saying "that
> > X&*!|!** reality checker is not working! My reality checker seems to
> > mesh with R. Brian Baylis' and Ted Kirkbride's.
> > Regards,
> > Jim Allen