GGW Brands to Be Run by Bankruptcy Trustee

Rhett Pardon

LOS ANGELES — GGW Brands LLC, the parent company behind the “Girls Gone Wild” videos, will be run by a bankruptcy trustee.

Last week, a bankruptcy judge made a ruling on appointing a trustee after creditors, including Steve Wynn's Wynn Las Vegas LLC and Tamara Favazza, accused GGW Brand founder Joe Francis of using the business to dodge his debts.

Also, agents from the U.S. Trustee’s Office visited GGW Brands offices and made its own motion for a Chapter 11 trustee appointment, according to court records.

“An ample record of mismanagement is present in this case,” stated a motion by U.S. Trustee Peter C. Anderson that was filed in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Los Angeles. “The recently appointed manager (Christopher Dale) is not an appropriate fiduciary in these cases and prejudice to creditors will occur unless a trustee is appointed.”

GGW Brands, which claims it has no formal association to Francis, filed for Chapter 11 in Los Angeles in February, listing debt of $16.3 million and assets of less than $50,000.

GGW Brands says it has no responsibility to pay millions of dollars in court judgments against Francis that were won by Wynn, who received a defamation judgment, and Favazza, a woman who successfully sued after a “Girls Gone Wild” video featured naked images of her without her permission.

The Los Angeles company said that Francis paid more than $800,000 of his American Express credit card bills so the video maker could maintain his “bad boy” image.

Francis image and lavish lifestyle are necessary to sell GGW Brands products, according to the company.

Creditors said in court filings that those payments and other evidence prove Francis controls GGW Brands and that the company should pay the judgments.

Francis has warned that he’d remove his image and likeness from “Girls Gone Wild” if the court-order appointment went forward, claiming the move would spell “economic death” for the brand.

Francis also said that the “Girls Gone Wild” trademark, which is scheduled to expire in a “matter of months,” would likely not be renewed, according to a GGW Brands court filing in March.