A federal judge has ordered that Girls Gone Wild founder Joe Francis be placed under arrest, part of an incredibly seedy and frankly hilarious bankruptcy trial that sounds exactly like how you’d picture Joe Francis behaving. Francis is believed to be living in Mexico with his girlfriend and their twin daughters.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Judge Fernando M. Olguin of the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles issued the warrant for Francis on Tuesday. The jiggling boob empire filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2013 — after Francis’s attorneys say he no longer owned or managed any part of the business. The bankruptcy filing came after casino owner Steve Wynn tried to take control of Girls Gone Wild to pay Francis’s gambling bill, which had reached $30 million. Ho-lee shit, Joe Francis is bad at gambling, huh?

The court ordered that Francis turn over two luxury cars, a Cadillac and a Bentley, to the trustee overseeing the GGW bankruptcy. But Francis said no, he couldn’t do that because —wait for it—he’d given them to the owner of a strip club in Mexico. His lawyers have also previously accused him of illegally spending Girls Gone Wild money to build Casa Aramara, a huge resort/McMansion in Puerto Vallarta, instead of paying them. (When you search Francis’s name in PACER, the federal court filing system, what comes up is an absolute mess of lawsuits. I’ve never seen anything like it.)

As the Wall Street Journal notes, Olguin is the second judge to rule that Francis should be arrested, something that’s fairly rare in bankruptcy cases. The first judge also recommended he be fined daily until he complied with her ruling, but placed a cap on the amount he could be fined:

Judge Olguin is the second federal judge to determine that Mr. Francis should be arrested. In August, U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Sandra Klein recommended jail time for Mr. Francis. Historically, bankruptcy judges have had the confidence to throw people in jail themselves, but a controversial ruling that involved former Playboy playmate Anna Nicole Smith has led some bankruptcy judges to turn to district-court judges for help deciding certain disputes.

Judge Klein also ruled that Mr. Francis should pay $5,000 a day until he complies with her ruling. By Bankruptcy Beat’s math, Mr. Francis could owe at least $1.3 million in fines.


Francis hasn’t commented on his legal or financial troubles. His Instagram shows him hanging out with minor Kardashians and his babies; several are tagged #VallartaAdventures. Given that Mexico has an extradition agreement with the United States, and his location isn’t exactly a secret, it seems fairly likely that Francis will make an unscheduled and unwelcome trip to the U.S. sometime soon.

Correction, August 12: An earlier version of this story incorrectly said that Joe Francis filed for bankruptcy in 2013; in fact, Girls Gone Wild filed for bankruptcy, and his attorney says that at the time, Francis no longer owned or managed any part of the company. In addition, it appears Francis was ordered by a court to turn over his luxury cars to the trustee overseeing GGW’s bankruptcy, not as a form of payment to Francis’ attorneys. Finally, according to Francis’ attorney, a judge placed a cap on the fines he owed and they are no longer accruing.

Image via Getty

Contact the author at anna.merlan@jezebel.com.
Public PGP key
PGP fingerprint: 67B5 5767 9D6F 652E 8EFD 76F5 3CF0 DAF2 79E5 1FB6