Creativity can be costly -- a lesson West Coast Chopper owner Jesse James recently discovered the hard way. 

The former co-producer and host of Discovery Channel's Monster Garage, James was fined $271,250 last week by the California Air Resources Board, according to an article in Friday's The Los Angeles Times

Officials on the board said their inspectors found 50 of James' custom built chopper-style motorcycles that were sold between 1998 and 2005 "did not have state certified emissions equipment on their exhaust and fuel systems," reported The Times.  Paul Jacobs, chief of the board's Mobile Sources Enforcement branch, told The Times that as a result, "bikes were spewing hydrocarbons at up to 10 times the state limits."

James, who married actress Sandra Bullock in July 2005, has quite the celebrity clientele, as his Long Beach-based West Coast Choppers has built customized bikes for actor Keanu Reaves, singers Kid Rock and James Hetfield, NBA star Shaquille O'Neal, professional wrestler Bill Goldberg and male supermodel Tyson Beckford, among others. 

However regulators told The Times James' "celebrity status" was not the reason he was targeted, as Jacobs said since "souping up" motorcycles has become a "huge industry" California has cited, sued or settled air pollution cases with more than 20 businesses who customize bikes.

Monster Garage had its series finale last June after five season on Discovery.