Bikram Choudhury had a flair for the extravagant.
Imagine a yoga instructor and you're likely to conjure up in your mind images of a bald fellow in a temple atop some mountain far away, or a dude in spandex with a man-bun teaching at a strip mall. Either way, you're probably not imagining a very wealthy individual - at least not in a material sense. But Bikram Choudhury is not your average yoga instructor. He's a multi-millionaire who built an empire, and parlayed a chunk of his controversially gained wealth into a sizable car collection. And now that car collection has been seized and is coming up for auction.
The ill-reputed founder of Bikram Yoga, Choudhury pioneered the trend of practicing the meditative poses in extreme heat. It caught on, big time, even attracting celebrities like Madonna, David Beckham, Martin Sheen, and George Clooney (to name just a few).
As the New York Post reports, Choudhury was ruthlessly protective of his empire and made a lot of money in the process. But after allegations emerged of sexual misconduct, he fled the United States for his native India, with courts awarding millions in compensation to his accusers. On his way out, he hid away his substantial collection of classic and upscale cars.
Now many of them have been found, stashed away in a warehouse in Florida, and they're soon to be liquidated to pay his creditors. Included among those found and set to cross the auction block at the Palm Beach International Raceway next month are a '73 Ford Mustang Mach 1, a replica Ford GT40, a '71 Pontiac LeMans, five Bentleys and a dozen Rolls-Royces - including a '37 Phantom III, somewhat ironically like the kind the villain used to smuggle gold in the 1964 James Bond film "Goldfinger."
Yet to be found, however, are his six Mercedes-Benzes and three Ferraris. But those that have been located are expected to raise no more than $1.5 million - and all that money has been spoken for several times over. Nearly $600k of the proceeds are owed to the East Florida Hauling company that stored them unpaid, with another $320k going towards the $6.6 million awarded in a wrongful-termination suit to Choudhury's former lawyer Minakshi Jafa-Bodden. The rest will go to his estate to be distributed among his other creditors, who are only likely to get a fraction of what they're owed.