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Destroyed my sax! Lance O.Burton or MartinMods also Solutionremarketing (eBay ID)

62970 Views 162 Replies 56 Participants Last post by  SAXISMYAXE
hello everyone.

It's time to make a report of my CONN New Wonder's Saga.
I sent my beloved horn to:

Lance O. Burton or MartinMods or Solutionremarketing (Ebay ID)
6219 170th Pl SW
Lynnwood, WA 98037
(425) 743-1192

(putting his address here is legitimate since he is dealing with instruments from many people. Every dealer shows his address openly)

I sent him my wonderful horn (see pics) which was overhauled here in Germany and got some modifications for better play comfort. I had some difficulties with the LH pinky table and was about to sell this great horn for good money. I already had a deal with CE Winds to buy a Professional DSV (Dark super Vintage) in a dark lacquer. As I heard from the mods Lance O. Burton was doing and saw that some SOTW members have sent him their horns I got tempted to do the same. The idea of getting my great sounding collectors horn better playable make me enthusiastic.
I also saw martinMods on eBay (buyers be aware) with the ID SOLUTIONREMARKETING offering the mods. I contacted him through eBay and he offered me a deal "outside" of eBay platform (my bad! never do that. I lost the eBay buyers protection). A complete package for 400U$. I got confident in him. He spoke some German, was kind in communication, had already some SOTW colleagues as customers... this all brought me to cancel the deal on my CONN (sale was fix) and also the purchase of the CE Winds DSV although Brian and Mark invested time on the deal and I think the order from Taiwan was also fix.

After I sent my sax in August 2009 I saw only 1 picture of the sax. At that time the lacquer was still there. A nice old lacquer.
This horn had a history.
I bought it from Carl Gordon from New York. He owned it for decades. In the WW2 Carl was a 12 years old boy and bought this horn from his Clarinet teacher Gerardo Iasilli (he was a NY Maestro and composer of some Sax books, do a research) and started learning sax. During the war Carl played this sax in the bars since the Jazz players, adult men were all in the front fighting. Carl (who moved to Florida after selling me the sax in 2004) attached some rollers in the sax case and used to ride the bike towing the sax that way. What an idea! nevertheless the sax NEVER got damaged and endured the decades on the stand in his fancy maisonette Apartment in New York until I bought it from him for 1,100U$.
Here in Germany this very same sax crossed the country two times, two shippings to 2 different technicians. Overhauling, mods ...again, not a single scratch happened.

Than the last time (August 2009) I sent it in a huge package back to its origin... the glorious "Sax-Land" USA. I shipped it to Lance O. Burton in Florida and the sax arrived there again intact.
But after 3 months Lance Burton moved to Seattle and sent a picture of his small car packaged with instruments on the top. At that point I realized my sax was in real danger.

The sax lost parts, was stripped of its historical lacquer. I don't care if it was double or triple lacquer, if Lance "butcher" Burton liked it or not, it was MY sax and I loved that lacquer.

Now after years of struggling to get back the instrument he sent it back. Stripped, the new Pisoni pads disappeared, cups corroded, cannibalized. Parts have been taken for other horns. The F#s hole removed and not replaced what suggests this part is now in a Bari which was been restored by him.

The technician who examined the sax said it is not repairable, possible but too costly. It would be better to buy a new one, would be cheaper than making of these "mortal rests" a playing tenor sax again.

I wish to make a statement here...

"What Lance O. Burton did is not only a crime against me, it is a crime against the spirit among musicians. The spirit of colleagueship. Musicians shouldn't cheat anybody but specially their fellows not.
This man did a crime against a US Heritage of the sax industry transforming a "state of the art" USA made sax in a "state of misery" art of butchery."

This man doesn't have any respect for himself and for nobody else. Getting money in advance to destroy private proprietary.

Be aware. I don't wish you to experience the same nightmare.

now, that my sax is dead I will weep and I will overcome but Lance O. Burton, or MartinMods or SolutionRemarketing (eBay ID) is for me a "Sax Murder" and guilty of this butchery.

To my colleagues who still have their horns after years under his custody, I wish good luck. The chance of getting the instruments back in a good shape are currently low.

here the first pics to compare the shape before and after the "expertise work" of Mr. Lance "Butcher" Burton...

here the sax still by me in Germany, prior to shipping to Mr. "Solutionremarketing"

barely believable but it is the same sax after a waiting time of almost 3 years.

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At some point the police need to become involved.
Once again, I must stir the pot. Just what are the police going to do? Based on what crime? This thread has certainly shown a crass business practice that has left a few customers frustrated and financially injured. I loathe these stories and the folks who prey on innocent customers, as is described here. My sympathies are with you.

But even if one could point to a specific crime (actual statutes, please) which jurisdiction takes it? Local police in this idiot's town, the county sheriff, the FBI for crossing state lines in interstate commerce?

Can you imagine the costs of putting together a case like this, sending investigators out of state to conduct interviews and gather evidence, then bringing in the witnesses for the endless court hearings and trials and appeals? Only to end up with a suspended sentence in either the local jail or state prison (or even federal prison) where we all know that petty crooks are likely NOT to go.

I seriously doubt if a local agency would take a case like this because of the contractual issues involved. Even then, I doubt if a local prosecutor would file such a case because of the civil nature of the actions, and the costs to the prosecuting jurisdiction. Hardened crooks don't go to prison in cases of this value unless they have two priors. While the cost of a saxophone or two seems heavy to the "victims", the values involved here are petty when compared to losses and injuries caused by real crooks.

This strikes me more as a buyer-beware situation than criminal conduct. DAVE
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Walter: I agree that if a direct confrontation is in the making involving any of the folks here who are upset about this jerk's actions, that a police presence during the confrontation may be a good idea. We used to call it "keeping the peace" but would caution the responding officers not to get involved other than to ensure that no one becomes violent. DAVE
I think it is a bad analogy. The horns weren't just loaned, there was an agreement (contract) to work on them (unlike your car analogy). Getting around what skills were used to do the contracted work is the problem here, as I see it. Oh, it probably could be proven that the work was sub-standard, even deceitful, but it would require a parade of "expert" witnesses years down the road. Us viewing photos here on SOTW is not the level of proof required in court.

But that's not all . . . bringing a civil suit against someone in the U.S. by someone living in Germany is not all that easy. It would most likely involve lots of upfront money to even start the process and then endless trips across the ocean to make appearances only to have them continued on some hoked-up excuse by the defense. Anyone who has ever been in the system knows those games. While the excuses for continuance after continuance may be legit, they really serve to discourage witnesses - eventually the plaintiff and the witnesses just can't stand the freight and quit making appearances. At that point the defense declares READY and the case will be dismissed when no one from the plaintiff's side is available. I've seen these tactics hundreds of times in criminal court.

This too applies to out-of-state law suits - even across-state suits. Lawyers don't come cheap and endless days off of work for court, hearings, depositions, etc. can hurt everyone. True, if there was someone local to this fellow, it is possible, but one plaintiff? I am not a lawyer so won't get into class-action suits but I doubt if this fellow (Burton) has enough money to even pay the lawyer's bills. That is one definition of being lawyer-proof. DAVE
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CoolJazzz: At least you cited a section - a law that could be potentially used to prosecute Burton. So many just don't like what happened and claim a "crime" was committed. We've been through this before on SOTW.

Given the leeway held by federal prosecutors over what cases they choose to bring and which ones they don't want to bother with; AND the low level of loss here (like I wrote before, it is a major loss to the customers but in the big scheme of federal crimes, this is peanuts), even if a new prosecutor wanted to charge this case, I doubt if U.S. DOJ would approve it. And, when some contractual failure occurs (as it appears to have failed in this matter), that will almost always cause a prosecutor to walk away from it.

But even before the case reaches a prosecutor, there will be a problem of interesting some federal agency into even opening a case because crimes presented to federal prosecutors almost always come from a federal law enforcement agency. Even local police and sheriff's deputies have to garner the FBI's or ICE's (or whatever they call themselves these days) attention to bring a case involving federal crimes.

How about postal inspectors, you ask? Maybe; but I suspect the statute you linked was intended for out and out fraud cases, not matters where someone wasn't satisfied with the level of service they received after entering into a contract. We all may be incensed by Burton's conduct but a prosecutor must look at a potential case from all angles and anticipate possible defenses. The civil nature of this incident would be tough to overcome.

You should have seen the hoops we had to go through to bring a video-piracy case in federal criminal court, even when the statutory financial limits of the felony copyright laws were exceeded. It was a "sales job", not a matter of merely interpreting the law.

That is why we (the Motion Picture Association of America from which I am retired) often took copyright cases to local jurisdictions and charged INSTEAD a case of false labeling of pirated cassettes and DVDs (which weren't copyright violations, even though copyrights were infringed). Or we went the civil route and filed ex parte actions in federal civil court. That allowed us to conduct civil searches with law enforcement enforcing a court order and then the pirate would have to settle with our lawyers after having some (or in some cases, all) of his property seized.

Sorry to keep going on these issues but it appears many don't fully understand the processes and what is required to be successful. "Involve the police" and "sue Burton" are easily said, but often not practical. DAVE
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Henry: Please excuse my use of the word contract, as when two people agree to do something of a business nature. You are right, probably not a REAL contract but I'll leave it to the lawyers to argue that. DAVE
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