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Lynn Ashcroft - Ashcroft Motorcycles

Ashcroft Motorcycles opened its doors in Salem, Oregon back in 1995.

The shop is owned by Lynn Ashcroft who builds full custom “hot rod” oriented motorcycles and custom automobiles.  Joe Miller manages the shop on a day to day basis with a staff that varies between 4 and 6 individuals.

Mr. Ashcroft is also known as the honorable  Judge Lynn E. Ashcroft. However, he resigned his position this week on the Marion County bench in a one-sentence letter to the governor and Supreme Court chief justice under allegations of official misconduct.

Mr. Ashcroft has a colorful background and a lot more information is available on the Oregon State Bar web site.  According to the Statesman Journal, Ashcroft left the bench for personal reasons and to avoid a public battle to defend himself.  All of this surrounds a 2008 case, where Ashcroft made an unsympathetic remark to a defendant, Heather Parks, after he denied her court-appointed counsel.

Besides being a ‘hot rodder’ and custom motorcycle builder, Mr. Ashcroft is a former Brigadier General and served both on active duty in the United States Army and in the National Guard as an Armor Cavalry Officer, Infantry unit commander and a Judge Advocate General officer.  He was the senior partner in a law firm (Ashcroft & Wiles LLP) with offices in Salem and Portland, Oregon.  The bikes mix traditional motorcycle and “rodding” designs and components incorporating modern technology and ideas. Ashcroft began customizing motorcycles after purchasing his first Harley-Davidson in 1992 and modifying it to fit his own style. He began coming up with his own designs and taught himself how to weld, machine, and build them.  The custom-designed motorcycles have drawn national attention — having been featured in magazines such as The Robb Report, MotorCycling, Stuff and Easy Rider.

A Pendleton native, Ashcroft has an affinity for designing cool motorcycles and is well respected for his customization work.  The motorcycle community is better served with him working full-time on bike building.  If he needs another thrill ride, maybe he’ll decide to become an activist and help take on some of the motorcycle legal battles such as biker profiling?

Photo courtesy of Ashcroft Motorcycles and Statesman Journal

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Ray Sotelo was the first recipient of the JC “Pappy” Hoel Outstanding Achievement Award and retired as the CEO of Indian Motorcycle in 2002.  The Gilroy Dispatch reported he was arrested by state and federal agents on suspicion of racketeering and conspiracy of trafficking stolen parts, loan-sharking, and doing business with outlaw motorcycle clubs.  He is accused of helping a California chop shop send a stolen Harley to Sweden.  Additionally, the owner of Road Dog Cycle in Denair, CA., a retired Stanislaus County sheriff Robert Holloway and his son Brent were also charged in the indictment along with 9 others.  You can read more in the Department of Justice press release.   Others indicted include:

  1. Alfredo Rincon – East Bay Dragons
  2. Ray Heffington – Hells Angels (Merced Chapter President)
  3. Joseph Tyler – Retired CHP officer
  4. Michael Orozco – Alky Haulers (Chapter VP)
  5. Fredrick Noreberg – Red Devils (Sweden Chapter President), official supporter club to HAMC

Ray Sotelo

Ray Sotelo may be a bonehead fencing stolen iron to Sweden, but he began working in the motorcycle industry in 1979 when he opened a retail outlet, South County Motorcycles, in Gilroy, CA. and knows motorcycles.  He built custom motorcycles for celebrity sports figures including Karl Malone, Ralph Tamm, Dusty Baker, Erik Wright and even a recreation of the Captain America bike from the move Easy Rider for Peter Fonda.  He then opened California Motorcycle Company (CMC) in 1995 – a full scale manufacturing operation – to meet the demand for his bikes.  CMC was purchased by Indian Motorcycle in 1999.  Things began a slow decline and is the making of a good conspiracy where Judges were being paid off, investors getting money under the table, parts kickbacks, gigantic executive salaries, the little guy getting nothing – again ….. it doesn’t get much better than this except in the movies.

I’ve never met Ray or have I rode an Indian, but I’ll keep an open mind until there’s more proof.  Being charged isn’t the same as being found guilty…but, it looks bad as the Fed’s are involved and it means he has some serious issues to take care.  It also looks (at least on the surface) that there are a number of ex-sworn officers who may have been involved in a criminal enterprise.

Photos courtesy Indian Motorcycle and The Gilroy Dispatch.

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