Bikram Choudhury, the founder of international exercise sensation Bikram Yoga, is currently on the run from creditors and hiding out in Mexico. The 76-year-old guru, who is fleeing from an arrest warrant, had his passport seized after he walked out on a $180,000 bill at the Princess Mundo Imperial Hotel in Acapulco.
Choudhury, who founded his yoga empire in the 1970s and went on to teach celebrity clients and amass a massive fortune, has been accused by several people—mainly former students—of sexual assault, harassment, and other repulsive acts and behavior. Over the past several decades he has gained a reputation for his offensive comments and arrogant demeanor.
Six women have filed lawsuits against him and settled out of court. Leading the charge is Choudhury’s former attorney, Minakshi Jafa-Bodden, who was victimized by the yoga teacher and then abruptly fired in 2013. She won a $6.6 million sexual harassment and wrongful termination lawsuit in 2016. Choudhury fled the country shortly after because he filed for bankruptcy and couldn’t pay the settlements, which amounted to approximately $16 million.
Choudhury has since been accused of other criminal acts, including of using “Bikram,” his trademarked name, to market his teacher training sessions at the Princess Mundo Imperial Hotel in violation of court orders that stipulated he could not trademark yoga poses.
The U.S. Department of Justice recently tracked down many of Choudhury’s hidden assets, including much of his luxury car collection, and seized them to pay off some of his debts. They are set to be auctioned off on March 20 and March 21 at Palm Beach International Raceway in Florida.
For now, Choudhury remains in hiding and the rest of his car collection and other assets have yet to be discovered.
While Bikram Choudhury brought the ire of creditors upon himself, creditor harassment is generally a frowned-upon tactic. If you have experienced creditor harassment in the Chicago area, contact our attorneys at Atlas Consumer Law today.