As expected, the Fyre Festival woes continue. A criminal investigation into the Fyre proceedings is reportedly being conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the United States attorney's office for the Southern District of New York, the New York Times reported Sunday. Federal authorities, according to a Times source, are looking into "possible" mail, wire, and securities fraud.
The Times report also adds greater context to the botched Great Exuma fest's wide range of victims. Blink-182, who pulled out of their headlining Fyre slot in the nick of time "after much careful and difficult consideration," still have tour equipment stuck in customs limbo. Festival employees are awaiting payment. One restaurant owner, who catered meals, told the Times she's still waiting on her $134,000.
In a lengthy statement to Rolling Stone following the Fyre controversy, festival co-organizer Billy McFarland called that fateful April day "the toughest day" of his life. "We were a little naïve in thinking for the first time we could do this ourselves," McFarland said. "Next year, we will definitely start earlier. The reality is, we weren't experienced enough to keep up."
In a separate statement, co-organizer Ja Rule said the "amazing" event was "NOT A SCAM" and that the Fyre team would work hard to make everything right. "I truly apologize as this is NOT MY FAULT," Ja Rule said on Twitter. "But I'm taking responsibility. I'm deeply sorry to everyone who was inconvenienced by this."
But anyway, the full Times piece from Joe Coscarelli, Melena Ryzik, and Ben Sisario also includes gems such as this:
Mr. McFarland seemed flush enough. "He always had a few thousand dollars cash in his swimsuit," said Luca Sabatini, an owner of Unreal-Systems, which built the festival stages and supplied the high-caliber sound systems and lighting. If someone needed extra cash, Mr. McFarland would dole it out — "$500, crumpled up, a little humid because he went jet skiing with it," Mr. Sabatini observed.
The Times also cites a recording of a meeting that took place earlier this month at McFarland's Tribeca office. When employees asked McFarland and Ja Rule about possible fraud, Ja Rule reportedly disagreed. "That's not fraud, that's not fraud," he said, according to the Times. "False advertising, maybe—not fraud."