The federal trustee overseeing the Fyre Festival bankruptcy is calling on a judge to force founders Billy McFarland and rapper Ja Rule (real name Jeffrey Atkins) to hand over documents and records for the disastrous April 2017 festival on Grand Exuma island in the Bahamas.
Gregory M. Messer, the appointed Chapter 7 Trustee of the Estate of Fyre Festival, is asking US Bankruptcy Judge Martin Glenn to sign a court order that would designate McFarland and Ja Rule as the responsible debtors in the bankruptcy case.
Fyre Festival was forced into bankruptcy on Aug. 29, five months after thousands of music fans found themselves stuck on the island’s festival site with inadequate food, shelter, and staffing. Promised a VIP-style festival headlined by Major Lazer and Blink-182, attendees instead arrived to find a half-built festival site with emergency tents instead of mansions and wet cheese sandwiches instead of gourmet meals. After the event was canceled, it took nearly 48 hours to shuttle everyone back to the U.S. mainland with many attendees describing a hellish and frustrating wait at the airport trying to get home.
Since the festival wrapped, McFarland’s Fyre Media company has imploded and both he and Ja Rule face a dozen lawsuits including a $100 million class action suit filed by superstar attorney Mark Geragos. McFarland has been indicted on federal charges in New York that could see him do years in prison, and debtors in the case who lent the New York millennial millions have forced both Fyre Media and Fyre Festival into bankruptcy.
Trustee Messer is now asking Judge Glenn to force McFarland and Ja Rule to hand over all bank records, company ledgers, and files so he can conduct a full accounting of the festival and determine if any funds are available to repay creditors.
“The Trustee now needs documents and information in order to perform his duties under the Bankruptcy Code and most importantly, determine whether the Debtor has any assets, and exactly where its money went,”a Nov. 16 bankruptcy filing reads. “At the very least, the Trustee needs the Responsible Persons to file the required schedule statements and lists, turn over books and records of the Debtor, and cooperate with the Trustee in the Trustee’s administration of the Debtor’s estate.”
Messer is asking the judge to force McFarland and Ja Rule to hand over a full list of creditors, a schedule of assets and liabilities, a statement of financial affairs, and “books, documents records, and papers, relating to property of the estate.”
If McFarland and Ja Rule continue not to cooperate, Messer said he is willing to try and force their cooperation through the use of subpoenas and a possible criminal contempt of court ruling, as well as a criminal investigation by federal authorities.
If the judge approves the order, both McFarland and Ja Rule will have ten days to turn over all books and records in the case. A hearing on the request is scheduled for Dec. 14 at 10 a.m. in New York court.