‘Girls Gone Wild’ Files for Bankruptcy

Feb 28, 2013 2:27pm
gty joe francis ll 130228 wblog Girls Gone Wild Files for Bankruptcy

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Girls Gone Wild,  founded by Joe Francis, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection for the soft-core porn business, GGW Brands LLC, amid a legal battle with casino mogul Steve Wynn.

The bankruptcy petition was filed on Wednesday in California, a move that will protect assets against a long-standing lawsuit by Wynn, reported the Wall Street Journal.

“Yesterday several of the U.S. operating entities for Girls Gone Wild joined the ranks of companies like American Airlines and General Motors having sought reorganization under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy code,” according to a statement from GGW. “Girls Gone Wild remains strong as a company and strong financially.  The only reason Girls Gone Wild has elected to file for this reorganization is to re-structure its frivolous and burdensome legal affairs.  This Chapter 11 filing will not affect any of Girls Gone Wild’s domestic or international operations.  Just like American Airlines and General Motors, it will be business as usual for Girls Gone Wild.”

Among the four largest creditors that were listed, the largest was $10.3 million in disputed debt with Wynn Las Vegas.  The dispute stems from a $2 million gambling debt Francis incurred during a trip to the resort in Feb. 2007, according to court papers.

Last year, a judgment of $7.5 million was given to the hotel for defamation “stemming from Francis’s public attack falsely accusing Wynn of deceiving customers,” according to the lawsuit filed by the resort. In September, a jury awarded Wynn another $20 million for punitive damages for slander.

Read more: Joe Francis ‘Goes Wild’ on Steve Wynn’s Lawsuit

“Thank God for the justice system that finally sent a message:  If you think you’re taking a cheap shot, it may be a lot more expensive than you had imagined,” Wynn said in a statement after the punitive damage was awarded.  “Therefore, think before you post; think before you speak; hesitate before you start to destroy someone’s character.  There may be a day of reckoning.”

GGW Brands LLC’s other creditors owed the largest amounts of money include Tamara Favazza, a woman who won a lawsuit against Mantra Films Inc. and MRA Holdings LLC in April 2012. Favazza said she was dancing at a club in St. Louis, Mo., in 2005 when a contract worker for Girls Gone Wild lifted her tank top. At the time she was a 20-year- old college student.

The bankruptcy filing indicates the debt to Favazza is $5,772,588.

Other women featured in “Girls Gone Wild” productions have filed legal action related to them. Lindsey Boyd sued, saying she was exploited as a 14-year old about 12 years ago during a spring break trip.

Read more: Woman Says She Was Exploited in ‘Girls Gone Wild’ Video as a Young Teen

An attorney for GGW brands said “neither Wynn Casinos, Stephen Wynn, Favazza, nor Boyd have any judgments against the GGW entities. All but Boyd are claiming the GGW entities are somehow liable for judgments such parties have against Mr. Francis, which theory GGW vehemently denies and looks forward to adjudicating in bankruptcy court.”

(Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect the fact that GGW Brands filed for bankruptcy, not Joe Francis, and to include statements from the company and its attorney.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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