Business News Legal

Fyre Festival co-founder to defend himself in investor lawsuit 

By | Published on Monday 31 July 2017

Fyre Festival

As expected, a lawyer working for Fyre Festival co-founder Billy McFarland formally resigned on Friday.

As previously reported, lawyer Michael Levine was defending McFarland in the lawsuit filed against him by investor Oleg Itkin. But the attorney told the court last week that he planned to drop the case because McFarland couldn’t afford to pay his legal bills.

McFarland set up the disastrous Fyre Festival and an accompanying talent booking app with Ja Rule. Since the festival collapsed before it had even started in April, McFarland and his companies have been sued by an assortment of ticket-buyers, suppliers and financial backers. He also faces criminal charges for fraud.

In a formal filing with the court on Friday, attorney Levine wrote: “Although Mr McFarland executed a retainer agreement in this case, he never funded the same as required, and he has advised me that there is no reasonable prospect of funding the same in the future. As such, Mr McFarland has consented to our motion for leave to withdraw”.

The lawyer added that McFarland now planned to defend himself in the case, in which Itkin is seeking to reclaim $700,000 he says he loaned the failed Fyre venture. The lawyer wrote: “At the present time, defendant McFarland does not have substitute counsel. Defendant McFarland intends to represent himself during the remainder of the pre-trial stage of this case, with hopes of securing counsel for the trial”.

It’s not clear if McFarland currently has formal legal representation in any of the other lawsuits filed against him and his companies, though in the criminal proceedings he is being repped by a public defender.