Billy McFarland, one of the founders of the disastrous Fyre Festival, has been ordered to pay out $US5 million in damages to two concert-goers, making them the first (but potentially not the last) people to successfully obtain a judgement against him.
Seth Crossno and Mark Thompson, both of North Carolina, claim they had spent around $13,000 on luxury VIP packages for the Bahamian festival, but arrived to find a chaotic mess with a gravel pit, FEMA-style tents and a machine gun-toting man on patrol.
The pair initially sought $25,000, but a judge this week granted each plaintiff $1.5 million in compensatory damages, and a further $1 million in punitive damages. The judgement was made in absentia, with Billy McFarland reportedly failing to respond to any court proceedings.
According to Vice, Crossno and Thompson also named Fyre Fest organiser Ja Rule in their suit, but dropped him after reaching an “amicable” arrangement with him privately. After the order was made, the plaintiffs’ attorney Stacy Miller told media:
“We feel very satisfied. We asked the court to send a message to those who defraud North Carolina consumers, and we believe he did.”
Billy McFarland’s legal troubles are far from over – he faces up to ten years in prison after pleading guilty to wire fraud, but currently faces additional charges in relation to an alleged scam that he pulled while awaiting sentencing for his previous one.