Founder of Girls Gone Wild narrowly escapes jail in St. Louis

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by Matt Sczesny / News 4

KMOV.com

Posted on November 26, 2012 at 10:55 PM

Updated Monday, Nov 26 at 11:20 PM

ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- The founder of Girls Gone Wild is a free man, but Tuesday night, he almost wound up in Jail because of what he did in a St. Louis courtroom.

Lawyers for the woman who won $5.7 million for appearing on a Girls Gone Wild video without her permission are still trying to find the money they’re owed.

But founder Joe Francis offered no solid answers and gave testimony that even the judge admitted was bizarre and not believable.

“I have no stake in this case, I was subpoenaed to be here, and by the way I love St. Louis and Judge Garvey is cool,” Francis said.

That’s just a hint of what it was like for the hour and a half hours that Francis was on the witness stand in Judge John Garvey’s courtroom.

Francis said he couldn’t remember anything about the money or finances of Mantra Films, the company that Girls Gone Wild operated under.

Lawyers for the woman are now trying to uncover the paper trail in what they believe is a clever shell game that Francis is playing to hide the money and avoid paying the judgment against the former company.

“He’s been the CEO of his company for ten years and he doesn’t have a single financial record, ledger, account record or tax return,” said attorney John Medler. 

When confronted about this, Francis was defensive.

“What do you mean I don’t remember, I’m not a party to the case,” he said. “It’s not my money.”

Things got so bad during testimony, Judge Garvey considered holding him in contempt, but then declined to do so; instead ordering Francis to find some financial records by January.

 

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