Hello radio friends,
Having spoken with Mike Howard yesterday and having asked a few questions about the Medici/Recht relationship; I will amend some of the previous information.
First, exactly what happend with Mario at Masi prior to his leaving and what the Recht "Master Plan" was. I had not heard this before; but according to Mike, Mario was "let go" from Masi. Don't know the reason but it may have been simple dollars and cents. Mario was making really good money I think, and after two years plus the production may not have met the expections of the management. Any way, Simonetti is actually the one who had formed the relationship with Recht because he was already interested in buying Masi and had spoken to Simo about it. Apparently Mario approached Recht (with Simonettis help) after being let go from Masi and the plan was laid out then. Mario was going to build the "custom" frames, and Masi (once Recht purchased it) would build the "production" frames. No underground "monkey business" involved. As it turned out, the Masi sale never happened; but the plan proceeded by forming Medici to build the production frames. Mario knew full well that Medici was in town and that they were all under the same ownership. In fact, I was mistaken about the notion that I was painting the first Medici frames. Actually the first Medicis were painted in Marios shop; by none other than JFC. I think there was a certain amount of friction within the ranks if I understand the situation correctly. I'm going to step out onto a limb here, but my guess is that it had something to do with a certain mistrust of Simonetti on Marios' part. Also, if I recall correctly Mike Howards' departure from Masi (just before we started Wizard) involved a disagreement with Mario. There are some other issues that Mike mentioned, but I'll leave that out. The final issue that seperated Mario from the Recht orginazation was the investment cast lugs. Mike tells me that Recht had already invested $10,000 in the moulds for the lugs, not to mention an enormous amount on a "state of the art" workshop which had only produced 85 frames or so by that time. Again, I think there may have been a dollars and cents issue. Still, all accounts point to the lugs as the breaking point. Apparently, I showed up on the very day when this whole internal volcano erupted. Timing is everything. Anyway, my presence allowed Medici to progress in the frame business as I provided paint services for a while, as I mentioned.
Stand back, I don't know how big this thing gets!
Ready for the big finish? I was sweating the ending until a close friend filled me in on a story that really puts a capper on this tale. He got it directly from Mike, so I know it is accurate. I had heard rumbleings from Mike myself about what had become of Bill Recht; something about big financial problems and leaving the country, blah, blah... Well, apparently very shortly after the sale of Medici was completed to Mike and Gian (not including the Medici name, only the busines and fixturing); some kids in NJ found their way into some toxic material that was (probably illegally) stored at one of his businesses after, which they died. This event set off an investigation that devestated his company and caused him to flee the counrty. Holy smoke! If I were reading this from start to finish I'd think I was reading the storyline for a movie.
In conclusion, It seems to me that there was a certain amount of division between the two factions under Rechts' ownership. I have to admit that I have more respect for Simonettis position in all of these dealings. As Mike reminded me yesterday, the fact of the matter is that from his first day at Masi in Carlsbad to the present, Simonetti has been the hub of relations amongst this group. Without Gian to bridge the language gap in the early years and facilitate interactions (including the one that hooked Mario up with Recht and an incredible workshop) much if not all of this story would never have happened. Gian tried to get everything and everyone to come together. Some of it worked, some of it didn't.
Well that's my story and I'm sticking to it.
Brian Baylis A safe distance from all the fireworks in LA.
Really, I don't make this stuff up!