Just shoot me: American Chopper refuses to die

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Category: Dailies

Just when you thought our long national nightmare was over...they're back!!! The bickering, battling and increasingly litigious Teutuls, the bike-building family that lately has sucked all the fun out of dysfunctional, are returning to television. Say it ain't so! After seven years and 169 increasingly interminable episodes, it looked like "American Chopper" was finally headed for Rerun Heaven, but the Discovery Channel pulled an about-face and booked the series for yet another season.

Subtitled "Senior vs. Junior," the new installments begin Monday, April 25, and will feature father-son build-offs aimed at finding out, "Who's the better builder," we're told in a 30-second promo for the show. Other principals in the Great Second Coming of the Chopper have gone subterranean – Jesse James and his wandering willie shuffled off to Texas after West Coast Choppers went belly-up; Billy Lane of Chopper's Inc. fame sits moldering in jail, as he will for the next four years, found guilty of killing a moped rider while driving drunk – but the Teutuls refuse to do the right thing and simply fade away.

Actually, the old man needs the work. Since splitting with son Paulie in 2008 and suing to recoup Junior's 20-percent share of Orange County Choppers, it's been a downhill ride for the 61-year-old. OCC's massive new headquarters, a 100,000-square-foot, $12-million edifice opened with great fanfare just three years ago, is now reportedly in foreclosure. No wonder some of Senior's extensive collection of hot-rods, muscle cars and classic British motorcycles have quietly been listed on eBay over the past six months.

Curiously, last month Teutul announced plans for a smaller, 25,000-square-foot operation right next door to the current OCC building. As reported by upstate New York's Times Herald-Record, there are suspicions that Teutul plans to move into the new building and abandon the present headquarters to foreclosure. "To members of a local economic development agency being asked to provide tax breaks for the project, the proposal doesn't pass the smell test," wrote the newspaper.

The paper also noted that the Teutuls have a track record of dodgy behavior with business creditors. In 2005 a bankruptcy trustee filed a complaint suggesting that the family had transferred assets from their O.C. Iron Works steel-fabrication operation to a similar business before filing for bankruptcy on the original company. The complaint was settled for $550,000.

Nor is the bike shop's foreclosure Senior's only newsworthy misstep. This past February his name was made public in connection with an illegal drug-distribution investigation. A weightlifting aficionado seen almost constantly in sleeveless shirts that show off his bulging, tatted-up biceps, Teutul apparently purchased almost $52,000 worth of steroids and human growth hormone between 2003-06 from a company called Powermedica. The man who wrote the prescriptions, a dentist with a previously revoked license, was just sentenced to four years' imprisonment.

Who knew? One of cable television's longest-running series, fueled by 'roid rage?

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