“He who serves the public serves a fickle master.”
So SKULLY, the once darling, white knight of the motorcycle industry, who had the hopes and dreams of techy moto dudes the world over salivating for some Akira/Minority Report-esque technology in their helmets has fallen from grace. For a while I couldn’t find a spot in the internet that wasn’t singing their praises. Motovloggers and bloggers alike verbally masturbating about how game changing this helmet was.
Now that they have gone under, let the shit slinging begin.
The first person to say, “It’s not my fault!” is Isabelle Faithhauer. She’s essentially dropping the dime on the two owners, Marcus and Mitchell Weller. If you haven’t caught up on all the drama, you can get caught up at Asphalt and Rubber and the dubiously not-motorcycle-centric, Buzzfeed.
Let’s take a look at this without the anger of someone who didn’t drop $1500 on one of these helmets shall we? I mean right off the bat, you guys know I don’t believe in crowd funded projects. I’ve ranted about it before and my feelings on the matter haven’t changed. With that said, the two brothers have allegedly used the Skully company as its own piggy bank. Some of the things they are accused of using the money for are:
- Rent for personal apartment of Marcus Weller adn Mitchell Weller in San Francisco Marina district was written off to the accountants as corporate housing.
- Security deposits for apartment in Dogpatch used by the Wellers was paid by SKULLY.
- Moving expenses and painting expenses for the Weller’s move from the Marina to Dogpatch were paid by SKULLY.
- Weekly apartment cleaning for Marcus Weller and Mitchell Weller.
- Personal grocery bills of Marcus Weller and Mitchell Weller expensed to SKULLY through SKULLY’s AMEX card.
- All restaurant meals of Marcus Weller and Mitchell Weller expensed to SKULLY through SKULLY’s AMEX card.
- Personal technologies, such as Apple Iphone, iPad, mini-iPad, TV, watch GoPro were all ordered by Marcus Weller via SKULLY’s AMEX card.
- Mitchell Weller’s Dodge Viper, which was claimed for insurance following an accident, as well as the new Viper purchased by the company to replace
There’s more and you can read about it via the file submitted to the court. There is mentions of strip clubs and getting their assistant to take traffic school for them and paying off a previous employee that was put into the books as a traveling expense.
As I read the bullet points of what the two brothers have allegedly done, it reads like a laundry list of activities any large company would have. Sure there are items on the list that may have legal ramifications but to those out there that run their own businesses, this is normal everyday stuff. My brother in law has his own company and bought himself an Escalade ESV. Does that make him a raider of ones own coffers? If you’re complaining and have scrounged for a receipt that maxed out your per Diem while on a business trip, you’re a hypocrite.
Remember, these guys gave up their day jobs to get this thing going. So who’s paying for their livelihood? SKULLY was. Sure these guys could’ve been smarter with the money but come on. This list reads like someone who secured housing, made sure they ate well and slept in clean homes. Going out to dinner? That could have been a meeting with clients, reviewers anyone related to the industry. Iphones? How many of you check your work email from your phone? CEO’s do it all day long. GoPro’s? Sounds like a business expense to me. Strip clubs? I’ve had many meetings at strip clubs and I’m a mid level manager at a e-tailer! This is how the business world works.
I mentioned earlier that this Isabelle Faithhauer is the first to say, “This isn’t my fault” and I think the timing of her lawsuit is suspect. I mean, my wife read the Buzzfeed article and her exact response, “Hmmm, first off the assistant’s just trying to cover her ass on being part of this fraud deal. Why come forward now? Why not when she first realized they were making her do fraudulent book keeping?” I wonder how involved she was and how lavish her lifestyle was when the times were rollin’.
My point here is that although the list is long and mostly extravagant, it doesn’t really raise any eyebrows. People are angry because its another Kickstarter Indiegogo shit pile that confirmed what we all knew: Humans are greedy and selfish. If you had your $1500 taken, you gambled and you lost. By giving money to these lame crowd funded sites, the real life example would be you giving money to a random stranger with a sign on the side of the road that says, “I’ll make you something really nice! Here! I drew my design on this napkin that shows I’m serious and I’m good for it!” Would you do that in real life? Hell no! So why would you do it online? Because they put 20 minutes into making some fancy videos and taking some nice photos?
Do you have recourse? Sure, you could call your credit card company (if you used one) and file a fraudulent claim. You might be able to recoup money that way. That is assuming your credit card company doesn’t have a policy regarding crowd funded sites or a time frame for which you can file a fraud claim. If you used your debit card, well sorry. You’re most likely shit out of luck.
Going back to the quote I started this article with, SKULLY was once the darling of this motorcycle industry. Now they’re lower than scum because they decided to live it up a bit? Give me a break. If they actually succeeded in launching this product, how many of you would’ve waved off this news and chalked it up to just doing business? How fickle we are indeed.