Joe Francis' Girls Gone Wild hopes to restructure its "frivolous and burdensome legal affairs" with bankruptcy filing
Girls Gone Wild has filed for bankruptcy. But fear not, late night TV-watching perverts; you'll still be able to order DVDs of drunk girls on spring break doing things that they'll later regret.
GGW Brands filed for Chapter 11 in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Central California on Thursday, claiming a little over $16 million in debts.
But according to the companies, things will carry on as normal in Girls Gone Wild-land, or at least as normal as things can be there.
In fact, the company claims, it's just following in the footsteps of industry giants such as American Airlines and General Motors.
“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. Girls Gone Wild remains strong as a company and strong financially," the company told TheWrap in a statement Thursday. "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.”
The "burdensome legal affairs" could be interpreted as referring to the millions in damages that Girls Gone Wild mogul Joe Francis has had rendered against him in recent years. As Bloomberg points out, a judge awarded casino boss Steve Wynn and his Wynn Las Vegas $7.5 million in April, after Francis claimed that Wynn had swindled deep-pocketed gamblers.
(In September, that number ballooned to $40 million, after Francis was slapped with punitive damages and compensatory damages.)
There have been other legal liabilities, such as a judgment with St. Louis woman Tamara Favazza, who was awarded $5.8 million after suing Francis in 2008, claiming that Girls Gone Wild used naked images of her without her consent.
The bankruptcy filing lists its biggest debt as $10.3 million to Wynn Las Vegas, and also lists $5.8 million in debt to Favazza.
The filing lists both of those debts as disputed.
While this would seem to indicate an attempt to shield Francis from the awards, Girls Gone Wild attorney Ronald Tym told TheWrap otherwise, saying that Francis –whose name isn't mentioned in the bankruptcy filing — won't be affected by filing.
"Mr. Francis is not an officer, owner or employee of any of the entities that filed for bankruptcy and therefore the filing has no effect on the assets of Mr. Francis," Tym said.
Pamela Chelin contributed to this story
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