JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A Jacksonville paramedic who promised to customize a motorcycle for a Navy veteran three years ago has yet to deliver on that promise -- or return the bike, the veteran told the I-TEAM.
Linwood Walker, who served 20 years in the U.S. Navy, brought the dispute to News4Jax hoping we could help get his Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14 back.
Walker said he trusted Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department employee Milton “Aundre” Hannon because Hannon works for the city in a public role. He said Hannon agreed to detail the bike and give it a new paint job, but that was three years ago.
"I wanted the motorcycle lowered. I asked him to extend the swing arm out, put on chrome rims, chrome paint, a custom voodoo exhaust, some custom lights. It was going to be custom all the way around,” Walker said.
But he said none of that ever happened, and now Hannon has gone dark.
"He knows he owes me my bike and $4,400,” Walker said. “That's why he's not taking my phone calls.”
During our investigation, News4Jax learned Hannon has filed for bankruptcy three times and has been arrested three times on charges of writing worthless checks. The I-TEAM also learned Hannon's secondary business has never been listed on his full disclosure form with JFRD, which is a violation of his employment with the city.
Walker said the agreement he entered into with Hannon, which he now regrets, included a long-term payment plan but no completion date. Walker said it took him more than a year to pay Hannon the $4,400 in cash for the new motorcycle parts and custom paint job.
But when it was time to look at the work that Hannon had told him was completed, Hannon stopped returning his phone calls, Walker said.
"I couldn't find him. The only thing I knew was what his name was,” Walker said. “I knew he worked for the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department, and I knew where his shop was."
Walker said that after two years passed, he tried to take matters into his own hands. He said he went to Hannon's custom bike shop at 2728 Roselle St. on Jacksonville's Westside.
Walker said Hannon was not at the shop, but Walker's bike was, and he was shocked by the state it was in.
"If anything, I should have seen a completely tricked-out bike,” Walker said.
But what he saw made him think Hannon was breaking down his bike for parts. In frustration, Walker grabbed the bike's panels, which were supposed to have been customized and weren't, and left the shop with them. After seeing the condition of his motorcycle, Walker kept trying to contact Hannon.
"I was trying to find him, to be honest with you,” Walker said. “I was trying to find him because this doesn't make any sense.”
Last fall, Walker brought his story to the I-TEAM, and we made several unsuccessful attempts to reach Hannon by phone before traveling to Fire Station No. 45 on the Northside to see him in person.
A firefighter at the station answered the door and said Hannon was not interested in speaking with us. He said he didn't know why.
After the I-TEAM's visit to the fire station, Hannon finally returned our calls and agreed to meet with us last December at the motorcycle shop.
During that interview, Hannon claimed that he was the one who'd unsuccessfully tried to contact Walker, not the other way around.
"I just don't know where he's been,” Hannon said.
Hannon told the I-TEAM the custom work on Walker's motorcycle was complete, including the swing arms, powder coat painting, a new light and exhaust kit and new tires.
Hannon also claimed he had documentation of how much Walker had paid him over time, but he refused to provide the I-TEAM with the paperwork.
He said Walker still owes him money, but he couldn't specify how much.
"We need to sit down, discuss the balance and get the motorcycle out of here," Hannon said.
After the interview, the I-TEAM arranged a three-way phone call with Hannon and Walker in March to get them on the same page. During that call, Hannon said the work on the customized bike was complete.
Incredulous, Walker asked why he wasn't called if that was the case.
"When I switched over phones, I didn't have your number,” Hannon responded. “I've got nothing to hide. I'm here. Everything is here. You tell me when to come, and we'll get this done."
The I-TEAM checked back on the dispute a month after the three-way phone call, and Hannon said at the time that Walker still owed him roughly $1,700. We asked to see any receipts for the work or documentation to back Hannon's claim that he's still owed money.
Since then, Hannon hasn't returned more than a dozen phone calls from the I-TEAM.
For now, Hannon still has Walker's motorcycle, and Walker is preparing to take legal action to get it back.
Consumer experts say this type of dispute is common, especially when business deals drag on over time. They say the most important thing in any business deal is to keep receipts and an itemized list of any money transactions between both parties, and always check for references and past criminal charges before entering a business agreement.
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