Quantcast
Connect with us

Bikram hot yoga bankruptcy should be dismissed: US trustee

Published

on

The bankruptcy of hot yoga pioneer Bikram Choudhury Yoga Inc should be dismissed or converted to a Chapter 7 liquidation due to a failure to file required documents, according to papers filed by the U.S. Department of Justice’s bankruptcy watchdog.

The Simi Valley, California-based company filed for Chapter 11 protection on Nov. 9, dogged by $16.7 million in legal judgments and numerous lawsuits and allegations of sexual misconduct against its founder, Bikram Choudhury.

ADVERTISEMENT

Choudhury built a worldwide following with classes of 26 yoga postures in rooms heated to 105 degrees Fahrenheit (40.6 C). He has been accused over the past few years of sexual assault by his yoga practitioners, students, instructors and teacher trainees.

Choudhury’s company and lawyers did not immediately return requests for comment on Thursday on the sexual misconduct allegations or the bankruptcy watchdog’s move to dismiss or convert the case.

If the case were dismissed, it would lift the stay on lawsuits against the yoga studio.

The whereabouts of Choudhury are not known. A warrant for his arrest was issued in May.

ADVERTISEMENT

In a Wednesday court filing, the office of the U.S. Trustee said Bikram Yoga failed to file federal tax returns, a notice of insider compensation, proof of insurance coverage and various financial disclosures.

Bikram Yoga appointed turnaround specialist John Bryan as chief restructuring officer on Nov. 13 with the aim of reviewing strategic options for the company and rebuilding the Bikram brand.

In a press release on the appointment, the company said Bryan would have “complete independence and authority to investigate claims, make recoveries, turnaround the company, and file a plan of reorganization (…) designed to maximize benefit for all constituents including shareholders, creditors, judgments holders” and the Bikram community.

ADVERTISEMENT

In its bankruptcy petition, the yoga studio said its liabilities were worth up to $50 million and that its biggest creditors are women who are owed money for court judgments awarded against Choudhury.

They include Miki Jaffa Bodden, former head of legal and international affairs at Choudhury’s yoga school who has an $8 million claim stemming from a wrongful dismissal case that included sexual harassment claims.

The company said in court filings it had only $1 million in estimated assets.

ADVERTISEMENT

When he was appointed chief restructuring officer, Bryan said he believed Bikram Yoga had more value as a reorganized entity than in liquidation.

A court hearing on the U.S. Trustee’s request was scheduled for Jan. 10 in Santa Barbara, California.

(Reporting by Tracy Rucinski in Chicago; writing by Tom Hals in Wilmington, Del.; Editing by Matthew Lewis)

ADVERTISEMENT


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Commentary

Freedom of thought is under attack — here’s how to save your mind

Published

on

Freedom of thought stands at a critical crossroads. Technological and psychological advances could be used to promote free thought. They could shield our inner worlds, reduce our mental biases, and create new spaces for thought. Yet states and corporations are forging these advances into weapons that restrict what we think.

To lose freedom of thought would be to lose something uniquely human. We share our basic emotions with animals. But only we can step back and ask “do I want to be angry?”, “do I want to be that person?”, “couldn’t I be better?”.

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Here’s how Trump could unleash a horrifying ‘era of authoritarianism’ in his second term

Published

on

What happens if President Donald Trump not only survives impeachment, but goes on to win a second term? It's a prospect that chills Democrats to the bone — and for good reason.

On Monday, Politico mapped out a detailed, hypothetical scenario in which Trump wins re-election — similar to their 2016 scenario of what would happen if Trump was elected in the first place — and some of the things that people could expect in the coming years. The result would be, as former Nixon White House Counsel John Dean put it, "an era of authoritarianism."

Continue Reading
 

Breaking Banner

GOP lawmakers in revolt against Trump and are avoiding using White House ‘toxic talking points’: WSJ

Published

on

Adding to Donald Trump's impeachment worries are reports that Republicans are putting distance between themselves and the embattled president.

According to the Wall Street Journal, support for the president among GOP lawmakers is waning in light of his phone call with the president of Ukraine -- which set in motion the House beginning an impeachment inquiry -- and then his decision to hold next year's G7 conference at one of his golf resorts -- a decision he later abandoned.

According to the Journal, "Mr. Trump’s support within his party will face fresh tests this week, as key witnesses from the State Department and Pentagon are expected to testify in closed hearings before a trio of House committees on the president’s dealings with Ukraine."

Continue Reading
 
 
Help Raw Story Uncover Injustice. Join Raw Story Investigates for $1 and go ad-free.
close-image