Ja Rule and Business Partner Hit with $100M Suit Over Failed Fyre Festival, But Should Rapper Be Blamed?

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Ja Rule (left) was made fun of by 50 Cent for Fyre Festival, which was co-founded by Billy McFarland (right). (John Parra/Getty Images for Barstool Sports /Wikimedia Commons)

Ja Rule’s disastrous Fyre Festival continues to dog his heels this week as high-powered attorney Mark Geragos is hitting him and other organizers with a $100-million class-action suit, but Ja may not need to be targeted.

Promoted as a luxurious two-week music event with packages reaching up to $250,000, many visitors were welcomed on Friday, April 28, to the Bahama’s Great Exuma with disaster relief-like tents and food that was anything but catered.

Geragos is representing client Daniel Jung, who paid $2,000 for a ticket and travel to the festival, according to the filing obtained by The Wrap. All plaintiffs who share Jung’s plight, some who allegedly paid up to $100,000, are covered in the suit, which seeks damages of more than $100 million.

The suit cites articles that described Fyre Festival as a “post-apocalyptic nightmare,” and included the Twitter image of bread, cheese and a salad that was supposed to be a chef-prepared meal. Geragos claimed Ja Rule, whose real name is Jeffery Atkins, and co-founder Billy McFarland knew the festival was going to be a disaster and didn’t notify concert-goers. The documents also describe the festival as a “get-rich-quick scam.”

In the aftermath of the chaos documented on social media, Ja Rule refuted claims that the event was fraudulent and maintained it wasn’t his fault but said, “I’m taking responsibility.”

He posted a tweet late Sunday, April 30, assuring that would-be Fyre Festival attendees are safe and getting their money back.

Ja created the festival with 25-year-old entrepreneur McFarland, who told Rolling Stone make-up dates will go on in 2018 in the U.S. free for those who hoped to attend.

“We thought we were making timeframes that were correct,” McFarland said in a statement to the music magazine. “We were a little naïve in thinking for the first time, we could do this ourselves. Next year, we will definitely start earlier. The reality is, we weren’t experienced enough to keep up.”

Yet, McFarland’s so-called inexperience has hounded him through many business endeavors before Fyre Festival.

McFarland founded Magnises, a New York-based company, in 2013 that is aimed at giving young professionals access to “the city’s best experiences,” like complimentary room upgrades and the best sporting event seats, for a $250 membership fee. But, it failed to deliver on those promises, according to a Business Insider report. The Better Business Bureau has logged 17 complaints from the company, including five billing/collection issues. One person failed to receive four discounted tickets to Coachella in April.

“We’ve hit some roadblocks along the way, and that’s what happens when you grow really quickly, and that’s on me,” McFarland told Business Insider of Magnises’ expansion to Washington D.C., and San Francisco.

Despite the complaints, McFarland continues to establish companies promising customers the high-life experience, including the private air travel arm Magnises Air in 2015 and SportsPass last year, which works as a season pass for specific venues.

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