I’m talking about Paul Teutul (Sr.) and his son Paul M. Tuetul (Jr.) of OCC/American Chopper fame. Like rock stars, they are. A key part of building the custom motorcycle scene for mainstream America. They weren’t in it for momentary good times, they wanted world domination from the outset. I’ve blogged about them previously HERE, HERE and HERE
But their working landscape turned toxic, and rather than resolve the dispute they remained lockjaw-ed, rigid, corporate minded and took the low road of “I’ll get mine and F you” kind of thinking. The problem, me thinks is greed. The perpetual rock throwing finally hit the White Plains, NY., courthouse where an oral argument before a four-judge panel on Paul Junior’s appeal from a lower court ruling against him, enforcing Senior’s “option” to purchase Junior’s 20% interest in Orange County Choppers (OCC) for an amount to be determined by the court in an appraisal proceeding.
For the uninitiated here is a recap, in January 2009, after a nasty, made for TV, on-air power struggle in which furniture somehow became airborne, Senior fired Junior. The two entered into a letter agreement that allowed Junior to continue working at OCC and avoided cancellation (and breach of contract) of their television deal with Discovery Channel, which owns The Learning Channel on which American Chopper is aired. Junior rejected the option exercise, following which Senior brought suit to enforce it. In April 2010, Orange County Supreme Court Justice Lewis Jay Lubell ruled in Senior’s favor (read the decision here). It’s a complex issue about fair market value and when it comes to valuing shares of close corporations for which there is no ready market, requiring agreement as to basic assumptions such as the date of valuation and the applicability of discounts.
Whatever your impressions are of the TV show and the Teutul’s antics, I’d think sitting in a courtroom and watching the legal experience unfold to determine your monetary fate separates the men from the boys. Having had my disproportionate share of legal issues I’d never predict the outcome of an appeal, but it’s likely a decision will be handed down before end of year.
I personally like my custom bike builder hero’s to take me above this worlds problems! That’s why I quit watching anything Teutul and instead was riveted by the rescue of the Chilean miners. Everybody threw in together. I was impressed by the technology, the fortitude. We applauded the human spirit and believe that problems can be solved. But not in Teutul land.
For those interested in learning more about the case, here are links to the appellate briefs: