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Where Is The Cast Of American Chopper Today?

American Chopper premiered on the Discovery Channel in 2003, relatively early in the reality TV era, and the show's unique mix of human relationships and workplace drama really helped solidify the format followed by countless other reality shows set in interesting and unusual places of business. The action on American Chopper went down at Orange County Choppers, a top-notch motorcycle customization shop in southern New York state. Audiences became transfixed with not only the motorcycle miracles made from metal and paint, but with the real-life employees of OCC, chief among them impressively mustached (and often contentious) shop boss Paul Teutul, Sr. (or just "Senior"), his son Paul Jr. ("Junior"), Mikey Teutul, Vinnie DiMartino, and Rick Petko, among others. 

American Chopper rode off into the sunset in 2010 (and its spinoff, American Chopper: Senior vs. Junior, departed in 2012), only to return to TV in 2018. Here's what Senior, Junior, and the rest of the OCC staff got up to in the meantime.

Paul Sr. got sued by his business partner

American Chopper returned to TV in 2018, a beneficiary of a television-wide "reboot" craze in which a variety of old, familial favorites shot new seasons of episodes. It's amazing that even happened for American Chopper, seeing as how the previous attempt to revive the show, Orange County Choppers: American Made, was mired in lawsuits. According to Page Six, in April 2017, Thomas Derbyshire filed suit in Delaware State Chancery Court, arguing that Teutul (his business partner) used the money Derbyshire poured into Orange County Choppers: American Made for personal use. (In other words, fraud.) Things also soured when Teutul attempted to change his ownership deal with Derbyshire from 51/49 (in favor of Derbyshire) to a 50/50 split. Derbyshire also said in his filing that Teutul delayed production by taking a long fishing trip and when he did show up to shoot, wouldn't do scenes with Hells Angels higher-up Rusty Coones, which was contractually obligated. Derebyshire says Teutul also made product placement deals without his approval.

Paul Sr. got sued (again) and restrained

In July 2018, Paul Teutul, Sr. arrived in a Poughkeepsie, New York, courtroom... for a mediation hearing in another lawsuit. Teutul and lawyers representing the bike builder and Orange County Choppers attempted to reach an agreeable outcome with attorneys for JTM Motorsports. That company alleged that Teutul had promised to promote their business, and in exchange, they'd work on his Corvette for free. Teutul apparently didn't keep up his end of the bargain, and had to pay JTM $50 a day to store the car until this legal matter could be settled.

Teutul apparently didn't understand the meaning of the word "mediation" — two sides maturely and peacefully "mediate" their disagreement so as to come to an agreement without the costly, timely ordeal of a full court case. "While both lawyers were verbally discussing the mediation, Paul was getting agitated," a source close to the case told Page Six. That's when Teutul tired of the process, stood up and screamed at JTM to give him back his car (along with a profane epithet) and then "basically leaned over the table and lunged." While Teutul didn't make contact, a JTM attorney "requested that he be restrained and three court officers came upstairs." Security then removed Teutul from the immediate premises.

Senior filed for bankruptcy

In what could be considered odd timing or some bizarre guerrilla marketing, just a day before the American Chopper reboot premiered in March 2018, Paul Teutul, Sr. filed for bankruptcy. According to Chapter 13 legal paperwork obtained by Page Six, Teutul admitted to owing nearly 50 creditors a total of more than $1.07 million, against a net worth of around $1.8 million. Teutul also claimed a monthly income of $15,000 and expenditures of just over $12,600. While that technically means Teutul makes more money than he spends, he wouldn't have enough to pay off his crushing debts. Among his past-due payments, according to the filing: a $32,000 judgment, $151,000 in taxes to the Town of Crawford, New York, $21,000 in credit card debt, and $2,000 in medical bills.

It seemed as if Teutul would receive some legal protections with bankruptcy status, but the story wasn't over. In April 2019, the trustee in charge of Teutul's case asked the court to dismiss the bankruptcy petition on the grounds that Teutul never supplied the right documentation. According to that filing, Teutul "failed to provide" the trustee "with copy of a federal income tax return or transcript" for 2017 and 2018 and more proof that his financial situation "indicates a negative cash flow."

Anybody want to buy a house?

About four months before he filed for bankruptcy and the whole world suddenly knew about his daunting financial problems, Paul Teutul, Sr. tried to get out in front of his cash flow issues by putting his enormous Montgomery, New York estate on the market. The October 2017 listing touted the 38-acre property's waterfalls, stocked pond, wooded areas, not to mention the many outbuildings designed to house farm animals. Which is to say nothing of the main house — a log and brick palace — or the pool, gazebo, hot tub, and volleyball court. Asking price: about $2.9 million, more than enough to get Teutul out of a few money jams. When no viable buyer emerged within three months, Teutul cut the price to $2.49 million. By early 2019, the retreat was available for just $1.65 million. The trustee in charge of his bankruptcy case said Teutul seemed assured that his home would sell and solve all his money woes, but it doesn't seem to have worked out that way, at least not yet.

Vinnie DiMartino switched from two wheels to four

American Chopper fans came for the bikes but stayed for the fights. Paul Teutul, Sr. and Paul Teutul, Jr. frequently argued over just about everything. That makes for great, addictive reality television, but things still had to get done around the shop at Orange County Choppers. And so fabricator and mechanic Vinnie DiMartino tried to keep his head down and get to work, always trying to remain dedicated to his craft. In 2007, he left OCC — and, subsequently, American Chopper — out of professional boredom and the need to grow. DiMartino founded his own shop, VForceCustoms. "I had gone as far as I could there," DiMarino wrote on VForce's now defunct website. "I really didn't have any chance for advancement, and I had always wanted to have my own shop, so the natural progression was to leave and start my own place." He ran VForce for five years, even working as an outside contractor for Paul Teutul Jr. In 2013, DiMartino abandoned bikes... for cars. He sold off all his bike stuff, bought some car shop stuff, and opened DiMartino Motorsports, a car and truck repair company in Walden, New York.

Rick Petko builds bikes as well as knives

Rick Petko seemed like an even-keeled guy on American Chopper. He took a job as a builder and fabricator at Orange County Choppers not long after cameras rolled on the show's first season, and he happily built all kinds of interesting rides. Even when the Paul Teutuls split up to run separate shops, and attempted to keep as many OCC employees on their sides, Petko stayed on with Senior but stayed amiable with Junior. Everyone could agree on Rick — both Paul Teutuls attended his wedding in 2012 to the former Brittany Cockeram. By the end of 2015, Petko was a dad to two young daughters. He was still working at OCC by then, but, tired of his 90-minute commute (each way) from his home in northeastern Pennsylvania to the shop in southern New York, he took a job as the chief fabricator at the Pocono Mountain Harley-Davidson complex in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, roughly a mile from his house.

And when he's not working with metal, Petko ... works with metal. He runs a small knife-forging company out of his home called RPD & Co.

Mikey Teutul explored his creativity

Paul Teutul Sr. and Paul Teutul Jr. frequently and loudly disagreed throughout their years together on American Chopper. Fortunately, there was a third member of the Teutul family around to maintain a tenuous peace: Mikey Teutul, hired at first to do entry-level work around Orange County Choppers — emptying the garbage, answering the phones, things of that nature. A funny and friendly guy, he did his best to keep things chill in the shop and in his bloodline. But a man can only take so much — he walked away from the Chopper franchise in 2012 so that he might, according to the Discovery Channel, "seek some peace of mind and work on my relationship with my dad." He did come back to work, however, pitching in at both OCC and Paul Jr. Designs.

Also a budding artist, Teutul used part of his time off to open an art gallery in Montgomery, New York, which featured his paintings. It closed in 2014, but Teutul pursued another artistic project: A web series. Launched in 2016, Bummin' Around aims to shine a light on New York City's homelessness problem.

Cody Connelly left bikes for more "power"

Cody Connelly was but a boy when he got his foot in the door as a motorcycle-loving, 14-year-old intern at Orange County Choppers, before American Chopper came to pass. After finishing school, he put the skills he learned to work at the shop, fixing up and designing bikes until 2007. That's when Vinnie DiMartino amicably left the business and show to start his own company, VForce Customs... and Connelly followed him. He kept doing what he'd been doing at OCC at VForce for a few years before returning to the world of the Teutuls in the form of a job at Paul Teutul Jr.'s design shop. Today, he's out of the professional bike game altogether — he currently works for a utility company.

In 2009, Connelly made tabloid headlines for taking legal action against some of his former employers. According to the suit (via TMZ), Connelly claimed that he was paid for only around a third of the episodes in which he actually appeared (and nothing for public appearances that promoted OCC). He also alleged that the show used his image in American Chopper merchandise after he'd left the show in 2007. Even worse: Teutul Sr. never gave him a chopper he'd worked on that he'd been promised. Connelly sought $250,000 in damages.

Paul Teutul Jr. has his own business

All those fights between Senior and Junior were apparently not staged for the benefit of reality TV cameras. Tensions ran so high at Orange County Choppers that in 2008, Paul Teutul Sr. fired Paul Jr. from the shop, even though he co-owned it. Junior later told Fox News that his dad giving him the axe was "a big favor" because it allowed him to get "out from under my dad's controlling nature" and set him on the path to starting his own business. Paul Jr. Designs opened in 2010, after Teutul's one-year non-compete clause expired.

Paul Sr. then tried to legally force Paul Jr. to sell him his 20 percent share of the company, a matter that had to be put on the back burner when father and son had to make amends — getting rid of Junior represented a breach of contract with the Discovery Channel, and it could have led to the show's cancellation. This all led the network to start an American Chopper spinoff/continuation featuring both Teutuls' businesses called American Chopper: Senior vs. Junior. After that series concluded in 2012, Paul Jr. went back to Paul Jr. Designs, and in 2015 celebrated the birth of his first child, a son named Hudson.

Here's how much Paul Teutul, Jr. from American Chopper is worth now

There's a lot of money to be made in the fields of motorcycle design and reality television. Paul Teutul, Jr. is successful in both fields, co-founding Orange County Chopper with his father in 1999, and then co-starring on American Chopper. In 2010, Teutul left the family business to strike out on his own, opening Paul Junior Designs. However, he had to wait a year to build any bikes due to a one-year non-compete clause, so he got to work on other projects, including designing a dog park in Montgomery, New York, and performing a top-to-bottom overhaul of Coleman's RoadTrip Grill, making the metal meat-cooker look a lot like a sweet chopper in what the company's marketing manager said was the first time it had hired an "outside celebrity designer." Between all of those irons in the fire, Teutul is worth a cool $2 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth.

The Teutuls lost a court case

No stranger to lawsuits, Paul Teutul, Sr. was wrapped up yet another sticky legal matter in February 2020. The previous June, a professional photographer named Scott Gunnells filed a lawsuit against Orange County Choppers, broadcaster Discovery Inc., production company Pilgrim Media Group, Paul Teutul, Sr., and his son, Mikey Teutul. He alleged that he owned the copyright on a photograph of the younger Teutul that had been used on two pieces of American Chopper merchandise without authorization or compensation. The merch in question: a $19.95 T-shirt and a $39.99 hooded sweatshirt. Gunnells also claimed that a different shot he took of Mikey Teutul was used to promote an art exhibition, and the Teutuls went so far as to remove his business's logo from the image.

A Southern District of New York judge ruled in favor of Gunnells, ordering the Teutuls to pay the man $258,484.45 in damages.

Paul Teutul, Sr. established some side hustles

With American Chopper winding down, Paul Teutul, Sr. began looking for some new ways to generate income, especially methods that could benefit from his celebrity. Similar to how the World Famous Gold & Silver Pawn Shop in Las Vegas from Pawn Stars became a tourist attraction after being featured on TV for years, Teutul aims to make Orange County Choppers a fan destination. In 2019, OCC announced plans to turn part of the 90,000 square foot building in Newburgh, New York, into a family fun center, which will include an arcade, go-kart racing, laser tag, escape rooms, a virtual reality area, and other such diversions.

Teutul is known almost as much for his impressive array of tattoos as he is for customizing bikes, and in 2019 he monetized that fact with the launch of a product called Tattseal. According to the press release, it's a topical application made from "bioceuticals" that claims to reduce the inflammation and pain that comes from getting a tattoo.

There's an American Chopper special on the way

After more than 160 episodes, American Chopper motored off into the sunset. In 2018 — after six years off the air — the show came racing back to the Discovery Channel for two abbreviated seven-season episodes in 2018 and 2019. That seemed like the end for the reality franchise, what with all of its cast members moving on to their own projects. What could possibly pull Paul Teutul, senior and junior, back to American Chopper? Nostalgia.

In late 2019, the father and son started filming material for a two-hour reunion special, set to air sometime in the near future. Production took place at Teutul's original shop in Rock Tavern, New York, where the pilot of American Chopper was proposed. "Walking into the old shop brought back a surge of emotions and memories," Teutul, Sr. told the Times Herald-Record. The special is likely to air sometime in 2020.