Adam Weitsman is an American entrepreneur and philanthropist, who is the owner and Chief Executive Officer of Upstate Shredding – Weitsmaan Recycling. He opened Upstate Shredding in 1997, and despite major drawbacks that even landed him in jail, successfully raised the company to the level of industry leaders. It later merged with their family scrap processing company Ben Weitsman & Son in 2016, which Adam Weitsman has acquired from his dad in 2005. He won Tioga County’s 'Business of the Year' award in 2010. He was featured in the March-April 2013 issue of 'American Metal Market Magazine'. He received the 'Platts Industry Leadership Award' and the 'AMM Scrap Company of the Year' award twice in 2015 and 2016. An antique-collector, he has donated several of his stoneware to the New York State Museum in Albany. He renovated the Krebs restaurant that his wife had bought in 2010, and they donated profits from it to 16 regional nonprofit organizations in 2015. He donated $175,000 to four Boys & Girls Clubs in Owego, Binghamton, Syracuse, and Endicott in January 2019.
Adam Weitsman often went to auction houses with his father during weekends which made him interested in collecting antiques. By 1982, he had over 60 pieces of stoneware and often researched for who made them, for which the teenager got noticed by antique journals. He later took art history classes and briefly worked at the Hirschl and Adler Gallery in Manhattan in 1989 before opening the American Folk Art Gallery on Bleeker Street in Greenwich Village in 1991. However, after his sister Rebecca became terminally ill, he was forced to return home to help his father run the family scrapyard.
For some time, he continued to run his gallery on weekends, and also opened a clothing store and an upscale nightclub. He became the vice president of Ben Weitsman & Son in 1995. In 1997, he established a new business, Upstate Shredding, at the Tioga County Industrial Park in Owego, NY, but the business failed due to a lagging metal industry. However, following a dark period during which he served a jail term for bank fraud, he became more determined to redeem himself and earn a reputation.
Adam Weitsman started again with the help of his then girlfriend Kim, who took care of the shredding business when he was in prison. His professional associates, most of his customers and steel mill buyers, as well as his employees, stood by him during the hard times, which inspired him to change his work ethics. He has already managed to salvage his reputation and established himself as a maverick industrialist.
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Controversies & Scandals
After opening Upstate Shredding, Adam Weitsman took a $10 million loan to buy a state-of-the-art shredder, but as market prices fell down, acres of scrap piled up around the machine as it stayed idle for nearly two years. When his business came on the brinks of bankruptcy, he decided to use his multiple accounts for check-kiting, for which he was indicted in 2003 and served 8 months in prison in 2004. According to him, imprisonment changed his life for the good as it made him more humble and helped him recover his business.
In the mid-2010s, he was faced with another controversy when an ex-employee accused him of disposing of murder victim Michele Harris's body in his car shredder back in 2001. He sued him for defamation in 2017 and won the case, but to put the rumors to rest, he arranged for a lie detector test to prove his innocence.
Family & Personal Life
Adam Joel Weitsman was born on June 13, 1968 in Owego, New York, United States. He graduated from Owego Free Academy in 1986 and then majored in banking at the C.W. Post Campus of Long Island University in 1989. His grandfather Ben Weitsman had started the used auto parts business in 1938, which later evolved into the scrap processing company, Ben Weitsman & Son, in 1958. His father Harold Weitsman managed the company for several decades before retiring in the early 2000s. Adam Weitsman acquired the company from his father, in 2005. His sister Rebecca, a trained artist, also helped run the company until she became ill. She later succumbed to colon cancer.
Adam Weitsman is married to Kimberly DeFrance, a fashion model. He first met her in New York, in 2000 when she was visiting her father in Owego. He told her on their first date that he was going to prison, to which she had asked him if he would do it again. She eventually left her job and learned the ropes of scrap metal business from him before he went to jail and kept the business running. The couple got married in June 2006 in Skaneateles, NY. They have a daughter named Clover and welcomed twins in 2017; the twins are Monroe and Rae. The couple lives in their Skaneateles mansion that he had renovated after purchasing in 2006.