February 11, 2013
By: John Clark
The merchandising division of Orange County Choppers, the motorcycle company made famous on the reality television series "American Choppers," is filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy, according to a report from Bloomberg News.
Sources note that the merchandising division, Hudson Valley Merchandising, is separate from the parent company, Orange County Choppers Holdings, which is not included in the bankruptcy filing.
The group filed for bankruptcy in Poughkeepsie, New York, and told the bankruptcy court that it had $1.4 million in unpaid debts. The merchandising division has reportedly had several judgments leveled against it in recent months.
The company reportedly has a few assets, but they are all in the form of accounts that have not been paid, and are thus not a reliable indication of its current ability to repay debts, sources say.
Sources note the court has already appointed a trustee, who will likely work in tandem with the company’s Chapter 7 Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney to begin liquidating some of its assets. The reality show featuring the business just ended a decade-long run on TLC, where it moved from the Discovery Channel in December 2007.
The show launched in March 2003 and featured Paul Teutul Sr., the owner of the motorcycle-building company, and his son, who became famous for both their motorcycle knowledge and their entertaining banter.
Despite the success of the show, which lasted much longer than most reality television programs, sources note that Orange County Choppers has not been immune from financial stress.
In 2010, for example, GE Commercial Finance started foreclosure proceedings against the company’s headquarters, but eventually stopped the case and instead took the deed to the unique glass-and-steel building from the Teutuls.
This may allow the company to continue to occupy the building, but it will eventually have to settle its debt with the disgruntled creditor, unless it is discharged in bankruptcy court.
In addition to the financial troubles, Orange County Choppers has also seen its share of workplace strife. Sources note that Teutul’s son, Paul Jr., was fired in 2008 after reportedly engaging in frequent disagreements with his father.