Bankrupt Rudy Giuliani’s partner in comeback coffee business is also bankrupt

Former New York mayor and Trump ally Rudy Giuliani is in the middle of a massive personal bankruptcy case – and one of the businesses he’s using to get back in the black, a Florida-based coffee roaster, is also reportedly bankrupt.

In May, Giuliani launched Rudy Coffee, a signature coffee line with politically-themed flavors like “Fighting for Justice” and “America’s Mayor.”

His partner in the venture is Burke Brands, the South Florida-based maker and distributor of Don Pablo coffee, The Daily Beast reported.

In December of 2022, Burke itself filed for Chapter 11, almost exactly a year before Giuliani filed for bankruptcy in December 2023, after he was ordered to pay $148m to Georgia election workers in a defamation case.

A lawyer for the coffee brand told the South Florida Business Journal in May that the bankruptcy was the result of Burke facing a cash crunch during the pandemic and having to turn to high-interest lenders.

As recently as last month, the company was describing itself as having emerged from Chapter 11 and saved its 75 employees’ jobs.

“They kept their customers, especially their main ones at Costco and Sam’s Club and online,” attorney Aaron Wernick told the journal.

However, later that month, on May 17, the company sought to modify a court-approved plan to pay back hundreds of thousands of dollars to creditors in two large installments, instead asking for monthly payments.

Wernick insisted to The Daily Beast the modification was unrelated to Giuliani’s separate bankruptcy case.

“It had completely to do with the fact that we had scheduled all our general and unsecured creditor payments for the beginning of the year, and we wanted to have them spread out,” he said. “It’s easier on cash flow to have monthly payments rather than big chunks.”

The Independent has contacted Wernick and Giuliani for comment.

The coffee brand came to the attention of Giuliani’s creditors last month, who alleged the former mayor’s deal with the roaster funnels money into a corporate account linked to Giuliani, a means to divert income away from his debts.

“More than five months ago, the Debtor commenced his bankruptcy case. One might ask what he has accomplished during that time. An objective review leads to one conclusion: he has accomplished almost nothing,” they argued in a court brief last month.

They also slammed the Trump advisor’s “egregious spending habits,” highlighting “60 Amazon transactions, charges for entertainment such as Netflix, Prime Video, Kindle, Audible, Paramount+ and Apple services and products and numerous Uber rides.”

On Friday, the judge in Giuliani’s bankruptcy proceedings approved a plan to enlist Sotheby’s International Realty to sell the former mayor’s multi-million dollar apartment, calling it a  “a sound exercise of business judgment.”

The former New York mayor’s bankruptcy could end up costing him his apartment, his jewelry and his prized Joe DiMaggio replica shirt.