A New York judge granted Billy McFarland‘s request to withdraw his attorney from bankruptcy proceedings on Thursday, meaning the Fyre Fest founder will represent himself moving forward.
In a handwritten letter to Judge Martin Glenn dated Oct. 1, McFarland asked for permission to remove his attorney, Tallen Todorovich, and his firm, the Law Office of Tallen PC, from the failed festival’s Chapter 7 bankruptcy case. McFarland is currently serving a six-year prison sentence in connection with Fyre at the Federal Correctional Institution, Otisville, and because of this he noted he “cannot afford to pay Mr. Todorovich.”
He continued, “I believe it would be unfair and unjust for me to cause Mr. Todorovich and his firm financial and legal burden.”
Trustee Greg Messer is overseeing the Fyre Fest bankruptcy and has filed more than a dozen lawsuits in connection with about $16 million fraudulently raised and spent by McFarland. Subjects of those lawsuits include American Express, modeling agency DNA and four talent agencies, among others.
Based on McFarland’s letter to Glenn and the judge’s order approving his attorney’s removal, McFarland seems likely to accept whatever amount the trustee determines the creditors lost. He will be responsible for that amount, minus what monies the trustee can claw back from those who profited off the festival.
McFarland wrote to the judge saying he had already directly responded to Messer’s counsel, stating, “I agree that I’m responsible for every dollar owed to investors and ticket-holders.”
He also said the “commitment to recovery is one I take extremely seriously, and one I look forward to dedicating myself to post-release.” In so doing, he said his first step will be causing the judge, the court, the trustee and relevant attorneys “the least amount of friction.”
McFarland concluded, “I don’t know how this process works, and my response may be unconventional, but I asked the Trustee’s counsel for advice on how to respond to the complaints in the manner that best assists their efforts, and provides the least difficulty for the previously mentioned parties.”
Fyre Fest was scheduled to take place on April 28–30 and May 5–7, 2017, on the Bahamian island of Great Exuma. It boasted an all-star lineup including Pusha T, Tyga, Blink-182, Major Lazer, Migos and others, and was promoted by social media influencers like Kendall Jenner, Bella Hadid and Emily Ratajkowski. But when fans got there, they found the festival was a fraud plagued by production problems and never actually took place.