SOUPMAN Inc., of Seinfeld fame, filed for bankruptcy protection in the US, just weeks after a top company executive was charged with tax evasion.

Federal prosecutors last month charged the company's former chief financial officer with 20 counts of failing to pay federal income taxes, Medicare and Social Security for Soupman's employees.

Al Yeganeh outside his business, Soup Kitchen International, in New York in 1997.
Al Yeganeh outside his business, Soup Kitchen International, in New York in 1997.

The former executive, Robert Bertrand, has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The company, based in Staten Island, licenses the recipes, likeness and name of Al Yeganeh, the man who inspired the "Soup Nazi" character in the television show.

"The combination of legacy liabilities and recent company developments have made it necessary to seek bankruptcy protection," Soupman chief executive Jamie Karson said in a statement.

 

The company has lined up a $US2 million ($2.6 million) bankruptcy loan to keep its business running during the Chapter 11 case. Soupman operates restaurants in the New York area and sells soups to grocery stores and online.

A Soupman representative declined to comment on the bankruptcy case.

Soupman filed for Chapter 11 in US Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Delaware, along with affiliates The Original Soupman Inc. and Kiosk Concepts Inc. The company listed assets of about $US1.4 million ($1.9 million) and debts of approximately $US11.8 million ($15.6 million).

Yeganeh, the man who inspired the "Soup Nazi" character, opened his Manhattan soup store in 1984. Yeganeh's fame spread after a 1995 Seinfeld episode in which an irascible soup vendor, played by actor Larry Thomas, berates customers standing in long lines for his legendary soup, often yelling, "No soup for you!"

The law firm of Polsinelli is handling the Chapter 11 case, and Michael Wyse has been named the company's chief restructuring officer.

News Corp Australia

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