You’ve caught me at the tail end of my interest in the Benelli Marque, I’m into Moto Guzzi’s now. This summer I’m going to sell my entire collection (four bikes — Dynamo, Volcano, Cougar, Nuovo Leoncino) and a massive collection of parts as well. I’ll ask around 10K; probably cost me closer to 20K — yikes!
Nobody said Benelli’s were any kind of good investment!
My enthusiasm for Benelli was also dampened when I was ripped off to the tune of 1,500 hard-earned dollars by Claudio Catania of CFM Motorcycles, a business associate of Joe Purshock of Vintage Cosmo, both working out of the same building in Hatfield, Pennsylvania.
The trouble actually started with Joe, who urged me to buy an Aermacchi bike from Catania and have him restore it.
Apparently, Catania’s ditzy wife had spent monies he had set aside for immigration fees or something like that (Catania and his Wife are Italian Immigrants); the upshot being that if he didn’t get some money fast he would get thrown out of the country.
This would have been a good thing, as it turned out, but I didn’t know that back then. In response to Joe’s incessant pleading, and to Catania’s promises that he would build me a beautiful bike; we made an agreement in writing that I would send $ 1500 to Catania to have him begin the project, that he’d have the bike complete, restored, and ready to pick up by April 1st, 2009, and that I would send him another $1500 upon completion for a total of $3000.
I triple-checked with him to make sure these terms were fully understood by and fully agreeable to him (which they were), and then I sent him the money…
…after which he proceeded to work on the project barely at all, went to Italy one summer with my money, and basically sat on his duff and hardly worked on the project. When the deadline passed, and the bike was still literally in pieces and not even close to completion, I reminded him that an agreement was an agreement, and demanded a refund, but he decided then that he would assume the fictitious mantle of victim instead of the actual role as perpetrator. That way he wouldn’t have to refund the money he took from me!
Tricky, huh? Of course, his arguments were meaningless and ridiculous and false and completely without merit. I made polite demands for the money (my $1500), and over time the demands became less and less polite, as one might expect. In fact, he just finished the bike in 2010 (!!!), sold it to somebody else, and still to this day has never paid me my money. Nor does he intend to, standing on his pride and taking offense for being called the thief and dishonest unreliable and untrustworthy person that he is. What a Prince, huh?
Although Joe Purshock isn’t really the one who ripped me off, I consider him an Accomplice in this crime — with a small a if not a large one. First off, Joe repeatedly urged me to “do the right thing” and “help Claudio out” and all that B.S. Later, when he saw what happened, he said that people like Claudio were unreliable and that I shouldn’t have done it and that the theft would be a good lesson for ME!
Thanks, Joe! But if you knew that about Claudio, as you say you did, then why did you talk me into it?
Second, Joe continued to employ Claudio as an E-Bay seller for a time, continued to offer him a space in his building (rent-free at first), continued to rely on him for help in pulling apart bikes and other miscellaneous projects so he could sell the parts, and so on.
In other words, Joe profited in many ways by continuing to keep Claudio around as a helper and tenant. Joe did speak to Claudio in my behalf, but talk is cheap as they say (free, in fact), and never got tough with him — which would have meant saying something like: “Claudio, send Salemi his money by the end of the month or you are out on the street, and I mean it. You may think it’s smart to screw your best customers, but I won’t have you screwing mine.”
He never did this, though, or anything close. I would have done the same for him, back then, without a second thought, but you know…character and integrity are, apparently, rare things.
If this seems like hyperbole, reflect: $1,500.00 is a lot of money, and I work very hard for mine, believe me. How would you like it if Mr. Catania (with Mr. Purshock, cheerleading) reached into YOUR pocket and stole such a large amount of money?
But I firmly believe in the law of Karma, so hopefully Joe and Claudio will get the respective lessons that they obviously need.