Two attendees of 2017’s defunct Fyre Festival, blogger Seth Crossno and co-plaintiff Mark Thompson, have just been awarded $5 million in a judgement against founder Billy McFarland, who is currently in jail awaiting sentencing. The judgement was handed down Thursday in absentia after McFarland “failed to respond to more than a year’s worth of court proceedings,” writes VICE.
Attendees of Fyre Festival were promised refunds after being left in squalor following their arrival at the supposed music festival for the stars. Of course, given the state of the “festival” itself, refunds were already questionable. Crossno and Thompson are the first to obtain a judgement against McFarland, who currently faces multiple lawsuits and charges of wire fraud, among other legal issues.
According to VICE, “Each plaintiff was granted $1.5 million in compensatory damages plus an additional $1 million in punitive damages.” The $1.5 million figure was determined during the trial, and encompassed miscellaneous items like “hotels and flights,” and more “nebulous damages like mental anguish, pain, and suffering.”
Crossno and Thompson only spent $13,000 on their VIP packages to Fyre Festival according to the lawsuit.
“We feel very satisfied,” Crossno’s lawyer, Stacy Miller, said. “We asked the court to send a message to those who defraud […] consumers, and we believe he did.”
It’s not even clear if McFarland has that kind of money available, but Miller says they’re confident they can collect.
“I can’t tell you a whole lot about how we’re going to collect it, but we feel confident about it,” she said. “We have to stay mum on our strategy.”