More Legal Trouble for “Girls Gone Wild” Founder

Ericka Jensen

LAS VEGAS — Joe Francis, creator of the popular “Girls Gone Wild” series, is facing more legal problems this week, stemming from an alleged unpaid debt.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that the Wynn Hotel has sued Francis for $2 million in unpaid gambling debt. The casino is claiming Francis’ debt dates back to February of last year.

“As far as Francis is concerned, his obligations to the Wynn hotel have been fully lived up to per prior agreements,” a spokesman for Francis told the paper.

Calls made by XBIZ to the Wynn and representatives for Francis went unanswered at time of post.

Francis and his companies Mantra Films Inc. and Sands Media Inc. have been making headlines throughout the past year and a half.

They were indicted on two counts of tax evasion by a federal grand jury in April 2007. The government also claims that Francis used offshore accounts to conceal income, and the companies claimed more than $20 million in phony deductions.

A separate $10 million lawsuit filed in May against Francis, his company and a man allegedly involved in the creation of two websites, contends that Ashley Dupre was underage at the time she signed a contract with the company.

Dupre is the call girl linked to the downfall of former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer.

A federal judge has approved a change of venue for Francis' upcoming trial on tax evasion charges. Initially set for Aug. 26 in Reno, the trial will be held in Los Angeles on a later date.

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