Warrant Issued for Girls Gone Wild Founder Joe Francis' Arrest
LOS ANGELES — A federal judge yesterday issued a warrant for Girls Gone Wild founder Joe Francis’ arrest after he failed to turn over a 2012 Bentley Flying Spur and a 2007 Cadillac Escalade in a bankruptcy case.
U.S. District Judge Fernando M. Olguin issued the warrant after the district court was tapped by the bankruptcy court to determine possible incarceration for civil contempt.
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Sandra Klein last summer ordered $5,000-a-day fines against Francis for not handing over the vehicles, which were previously Girls Gone Wild company cars.
The cars were reported by Francis to have been seized by a Mexican strip club operator after the company defaulted on a promotion deal. As a result, Francis said he can't produce the cars allegedly taken in Guadalajara.
So far, Francis could owe at least $1.3 million in fines based on Klein’s $5,000-a-day fines ordered last summer.
According to court records and recent tabloid stories, Francis and his wife, Abbey Wilson, are currently living in Mexico with their baby twin girls.
Francis and Wilson late last year made a plea to the court to avoid travel to the U.S. for depositions, saying it would be a burden to travel to the U.S. because their daughters were born premature and lack U.S. passports; instead the couple told the court that they could be deposed in Mexico telephonically.
But Francis, facing jail time in the U.S., is immune from extradition in Mexico. The U.S. and Mexico provides for the capture and return of those who face criminal charges, not civil contempt.
GGW Acquisition bought Girls Gone Wild assets for $1.825 million at bankruptcy auction last year.
The company's assets went up for sale after Francis-operated companies filed Chapter 11 in a purported pre-emptive move to stave off Las Vegas entertainment mogul Steve Wynn and his companies from taking assets as repayment for more than $30 million in gambling debts.