Darkside Chariots, a custom motorcycle shop owned by Mike Palleta, sold several motorcycles to three active duty and two prior military members, along with at least one other individual in 2006. Each motorcycle was to be built to specifications and completed as noted in written and signed contracts. The motorcycles were paid for up front. Each of the six individuals cited above waited more than 14 months for products to be completed or delivered.
Only two individuals were given completed motorcycles, however, they were not completed to contract specs. Both of those motorcycles had faulty welds. In one case a forward control broke off during a ride resulting in the rider, a prior Navy member, suffering injuries that required several dozen stitches to his knee. The other motorcycle had the same forward control breakage issue, but fortunately the US Marine that was to ride the bike was deployed at the time and noone was hurt.
The completed motorcycles had to be stripped so the welds could be fixed. Additionally, there were several issues that needed fixing prior to the motorcycles actually being safely used. Issues included brake lines being cut through by the chain, axel spacers being cut unevenly, a chain tensioner that bent under stress of first ride, and improper assembly of a motor that resulted in seizure.
Two other US Marines ordered motorcycles and waited more than 14 months before finally tracking down the current location of Darkside Chariots and demanding that all products owed be handed over. The motorcycles were only approximately 50%-65% complete even after more than 14 months. The bikes were not built to contract specifications. Additionally, all the parts for the bikes were not at the builder's shop.
Another prior Navy member ordered a motorcycle nearly two years ago. He has, to date, received only a few parts, some of which were not even correct in design. Another individual has traveled thousands of miles to the current Darkside Chariots location to get the products he contracted and paid for more than a year and a half ago. He is still awaiting parts.
Mike Palleta has moved his shop from Georgia to North Carolina and then to Florida during the last three or so years. All the above orders were placed while he was working in Gastonia North Carolina. The Gastonia Police Department and other law enforcement officials are investigating potential criminal activity related to sales as listed above and through eBay.
The three active duty service members mentioned above are all US Marines that recently returned from deployment in the Middle East. Through the first half of a tough six months from home, the excitement of seeing loved ones and having custom motorcycles waiting was thick. The excitement of returning to family eventually gave way to the realization that there were no motorcycles, despite promise after promise from Mike Palleta that things were on track. Eventually, each got a sickening feeling that the money spent for the motorcycles was wasted. There was renewed excitement for the Marine who got his motorcycles - that was until it was found to be unsafe and that it would cost another chunk of money, on top of that already spent, to get the bike ridable.
None of the six individuals mentioned above have received what they were due. All paid good money and got delays, lies, substandard builds or nothing but a couple of parts.