Soupman Inc, the company that licensed the name and recipes of chef Al Yeganeh who inspired the dictatorial "Soup Nazi" character on the TV comedy "Seinfeld", filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in US Bankruptcy Court in Delaware, the company said in a statement on Tuesday.
To meet its working capital needs during the Chapter 11 process, the company has secured $2 million in new debtor-in-possession financing from an independent third-party investment firm, the company said.
Wyse Advisors LLC's Michael Wyse has been hired as Soupman's chief restructuring officer and interim chief financial officer, the company said.
The move comes just weeks after Soupman's former chief financial officer Robert Bertrand was prosecuted for tax evasion after being charged with 20 counts of failing to pay Medicare, Social Security and federal income taxes.
"The United States was fleeced out of more than half a million dollars through the defendant's corporate misdeeds," Bridget Rohde, acting US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, said. "Tax crimes like those alleged in the indictment hurt every American citizen."
According to US Courts, Chapter 11 of the bankruptcy code provides for reorganisation, usually involving a corporation or partnership. The debtor proposes a plan of reorganisation to keep its business alive and pay creditors over time.
Based in Staten Island, New York, Soupman sells products under the Original SoupMan brand.
It traces its roots to 1984, when Al Yeganeh opened his soup shop on West 55th Street in midtown Manhattan and soon began drawing long lines of customers.
Al Yeganeh was the inspiration for Yev Kassem, a character first portrayed by Larry Thomas in a 1995 "Seinfeld" episode who was known for making customers follow strict rules to order or risk being turned away with his forceful cry, "No soup for you!"
In published interviews, Yeganeh said he was no fan of the "Soup Nazi" name.