Ill-fated entrepreneur Billy McFarland didn’t quite come through on his promise of his Fyre Festival being the “cultural experience of the decade” and now he can’t pay his attorney.
McFarland was being represented by Attorney Michael Levine of Levine and Associates PC in a $1 million lawsuit over unpaid loans connected to Fyre Festival. However, at a hearing on Wednesday, Levine told New York Supreme Court Justice Saliann Scarpulla that he’d file a formal request to drop McFarland because he could no longer represent a client that wasn’t paying him.
The case will be stayed until September to give McFarland time to appoint a new attorney. The case is just one of nearly a dozen lawsuits filed against Billy McFarland and the now-infamous Fyre Festival. Earlier this month, McFarland was arrested at his Manhattan home on federal wire fraud charges, which accused him of misrepresenting financial documents to investors.
“William McFarland promised a ‘life changing’ music festival but in actuality delivered a disaster,” Acting Manhattan U.S. Attorney Joon Kim said in a statement. “McFarland allegedly presented fake documents to induce investors to put over a million dollars into his company and the fiasco called the Fyre Festival.”
McFarland faces up to 20 years in prison for his wire fraud charges but he was released after posting his $300,000 bail.
Upon his arrest for federal wire fraud, Billy McFarland disclosed to the court that he was extremely broke. However, According to The New York Times, McFarland is still managing to make payments on a Maserati with a suggested retail price of $110,000 and renting a Manhattan penthouse apartment for $21,000 a month.
As of now, Fyre Festival is facing 9 lawsuits, including multiple class action suits. As for McFarland, the consensus is he will invoke his Fifth Amendment right and avoid direct questioning in the civil matters pending resolution of the criminal investigation.
A large amount – an estimated 90 percent – of civil class actions suits are settled before going to trial. But that requires money and McFarland and Fyre Media might not have any of that. If that is the case, the plaintiffs will probably push for incarceration while still pursuing financial restitution from others who may have liability and means.
McFarland may still have a nice car and penthouse apartment but he might need to get rid of those so he can afford to get another attorney to represent him – as I’m sure he will be pretty busy in the courtroom for the foreseeable future.