Even Fyre Fest’s bankruptcy settlement is a rip-off
Until very recently, it sounded like people who were duped into buying tickets to 2017's disastrous Fyre Festival would recoup about $7,000 for their troubles, as part of a fat bankruptcy settlement. Unfortunately for them, the person in charge of collecting all the money owed to creditors has had a hard time finding the cash.
After four years of shaking down models, influencers, musical acts and luxury travel companies, bankruptcy trustee Gregory Messer told a judge he's recouped a measly $1.4 million, the New York Post reported. Since $1.1 million of that will go to attorneys and accountants, that leaves just $300,000 to divide amongst all the creditors, seeking $7 million total — including ticketholders, who secured a $2 million ruling this spring. Perhaps reasoning something is better than nothing, Messer filed court papers for permission to start distributing the funds he's managed to recover, and the new proposed payout for attendees is a measly $283 apiece.
Models like Kendall Jenner, Emily Ratajkowski and Hailey Bieber were paid six-figure sums to promote Fyre Fest. Jenner paid back $90,000 of the $275,000 she received, and Ratajkowski coughed up $37,500 of her $300,000 fee. Blink 182 was slated to perform and famously backed out as the first wave of ticketholders landed in the Bahamas; the band returned $157,100 of their $265,000 paycheck. Messner said he had a hard time recovering money from many of the folks Fyre Fest paid early on, noting that even though the musical acts "never performed ... most of these artists had strong contracts," for example.
Plus, big surprise, Fyre Fest mastermind Billy McFarland was a terrible businessman and not much help recovering the money he stole and spent lavishly. "The case has presented numerous challenges," Messner explained. "There are virtually no traditional books and records and it has been impossible to secure Billy McFarland’s cooperation given his ongoing criminal issues."
While he's a certified (read: convicted) scammer, McFarland has spent a shocking amount of time in solitary confinement during his incarceration. Sentenced to six years in prison, he was first isolated as punishment for recording a podcast in prison. But his stay in solitary stretched to six months before he was transferred to a different facility.
As for the clout-chasing souls McFarland duped into spending a minimum of $1,000 on a non-existent tropical music festival? Well, at least $283 is better than a cold cheese sandwich.