The bankruptcy proceedings centering on Fyre Fest are heating up. Gregory Messer – the court-appointed liquidation trustee for Fyre Media who has been investigating what happened to the (at least) $16 million that Fyre Fest co-creator Billy McFarland raised to stage the ill-fated music festival – has filed a host of lawsuits, naming Kendall Jenner, Emily Ratajkowski, DNA Model Management, event producer Yaron Lavi, and talent management powerhouse Creative Arts Agency, among others, and citing claims of fraud.
In the two dozen “fraudulent transfers and actual fraud” lawsuits filed in a New York bankruptcy court on Wednesday, Messer is seeking judgments from the court to hold “each [defendant] jointly and severally liable for the return of any [Fyre Fest related payment] transfers,” plus any prejudgment interest and attorneys’ fees.
The sums being sought by the court’s trustee vary by defendant but in the case filed against Kendall Jenner, for instance, which was filed against her both in her personal capacity and her corporate entity, Messer is seeking to claw back the $275,000 that the model and reality star was paid by Fyre Media in connection with a January 2017 Instagram post. According to Messer’s complaint, the Fyre Fest organizers “entered into an agreement with Jenner pursuant to which Jenner was required to make a single social media post promoting the Festival in exchange for $250,000.”
In January 2017, Jenner “successfully promoted” – by way of an Instagram post – “the fantasy that the Festival would be populated with models and beautiful people and that fans would be missing out if they were not there.” Messer asserts that Jenner’s post failed to include “any indication that Jenner was paid to promote the Festival pursuant to the guidelines of the Federal Trade Commission,” as TFL first pointed out in March 2017.
In addition to failing to include the legally-mandated disclosures, the complaint states that “Jenner never informed the public that she either had no intention of attending the Festival, or that she ultimately determined not to attend the Festival.”image via SDNY
Messer asserts that “following the [January 2017] promotional post, Jenner received [an] additional $25,000,” which must also be returned, as “Jenner has retained the full value of the transfers and the funds received” from the fraudulent festival’s organizers.
By way of a separate complaint filed against DNA Models and Emily Ratajkowski, Messer is seeking to retrieve the whopping $299,999.99 paid to the model for the promotional Instagram she posted in late 2016 as part of an agreement, which required that she “post the Fyre Festival announcement orange tile, as approved by [Ratajkowski], on her Instagram on Monday 12/12/16 at 5pm est. using the [language]: “Fyrefestival.com. Join #fyrefestival.”
Despite the contract requiring Ratajkowski to “include all necessary disclosures in her social media posts made hereunder to comply with the FTC Guides, which may include the hashtag: #spon or #ad,” Messer says that no such disclosures were made (and Fyre Fest’s marketing team, Jerry Media, seemingly did not monitor and/or require any updates to the disclosure-less post, as required by the Federal Trade Commission).
More than that, Messer also asserts that Ratajkowski failed to inform her “fans and followers that [she] ultimately decided not to attend the Festival because of problems with the Festival of which [she] and [her] agency was uniquely aware.”
Beyond the models, Messers is seeking the $500,000 paid to Blink 182 by way of its management company Creative Arts Agency and the $350,000 paid to “Lil Yachty, and/or Migos, and/or [Rae] Sremmurd,” among other funds paid to the likes of ASC Ticket Co., Flight Centre Travel Group, Constellation Culinary Group, and Swift Air, among others.
*The cases are Gregory M. Messer v. Kendall Jenner 1:19-ap-1347; Gregory M. Messer v. International Creative Management Partners, LLC, et al, 19-01346; Gregory M. Messer v. DNA Model Management, LLC, EMRATA Inc., and Emily Ratajkowski, 1:19-ap-01344; Gregory M. Messer v. Creative Arts Agency, 1:19-ap-1343, etc.