Fyre Festival Promoter Billy McFarland Spent $150,000 on a Yacht for Blink-182

The New York Post has obtained documents indicating that Fyre Festival promoter Billy McFarland spent more than $150,000 on a yacht last April for the band Blink-182. It's no wonder his doomed music festival didn't even have running water. McFarland also allegedly spent $18,208 on towels, and $260,000 on a carpet for the partially-constructed tents where people were expected to sleep.

“There was gross mismanagement and a general misunderstanding of how events like this unfold and that purchases weren’t being vetted,” a source told the New York Post. “At no point in time if you look at the big picture does it appear that there was ever a criminal element. It was just the idea of a 20-something who unraveled.” Blink-182 eventually pulled out of the event, stating, “We’re not confident that we would have what we need to give you the quality of performances we always give our fans.”

McFarland is expected to be in Manhattan federal court on Tuesday. He’s facing wire fraud charges for lying to investors. McFarland claimed that his company, Fyre Media, had made millions from booking thousands of artists, when in reality, his company had revenues well below $60,000. McFarland is expected to plead guilty after waiving his right to a grand jury indictment. He has reportedly been speaking with prosecutors about a “possible disposition of the case” as far back as August.


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Scam Artist Who Stole From Four Women He Met on Dating Sites Sentenced to Prison

A man who pretended to be an oil tycoon in an elaborate identity theft scheme has been handed down a sentence of four years in prison, the New York Post reports. Using online dating services like eHarmony, Craigslist, Match.com and Seeking Arrangement, John Edward Taylor would deceive women under a variety of aliases, gaining their affections and trust in order to steal sensitive information and hundreds of thousands of dollars in the process.

Taylor tricked upwards of 16 women out of thousands of dollars, nearly sending one young victim into bankruptcy in the process. He used manipulation to gain access to personal finance information, moving funds and opening new accounts in their names; switching to intimidation and blackmail whenever the women caught wind of what was going on. In a series of letters sent to the case’s judge Laura Swain, 9 different women recounted the scams they endured. “Each time we had a question or doubt, he would have another story to cover up the lie,” read one of the letters. 

For nearly 7 years between 2009 and 2016, he was able to get away with stealing well over $270,000 from a handful of women whom he would then blackmail with public and professional embarrassment if they tried to pursue legal action.

A few of his former victims made their way to court proceedings to voice their experiences, offering even more insight into the awful lengths he was willing to go to get what he wanted. One noted how skilled he was in his approach, meticulously sticking to his fake identity in order to get close to women he would ultimately steal from. “Don’t let him have any more victims,” she pleaded. Taylor's lawyer offered up her client's mental health as the reason he should avoid jail time, saying a lengthy sentence would “kill him.”

He is also is also on the hook for nearly $300,000 in restitution.

Next time an oil tycoon pops up as a match, swipe left.

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Carmelo Anthony Takes Subtle Jab at Knicks Over Joining OKC

Carmelo Anthony has only been playing for the Thunder for about 10 days now. But to hear him tell it, he’s already way happier playing in Oklahoma City than he ever was playing for the Knicks.

On Monday, Carmelo—who is a three-time Olympic gold medalist—told reporters that playing alongside Russell Westbrook and Paul George on the Thunder feels a little bit like playing alongside his fellow Olympians as part of Team USA. And while explaining why that is, he managed to take a shot at the Knicks and the talent, or lack thereof, that he was surrounded with when he played in New York City.

Olympic Melo connotation comes into play [where] I’m surrounded by great players,” he said, according to the New York Post. “I try to get where the game is easier for myself, easier for everybody else. That’s where I can come in and not have to do too much and bring my game and help me blend with other guys. I’ve always been a product of my environment. Whatever the environment wants from me, that’s what I give my environment. This environment is different, reminds me of being around Olympic teams, those great teams.”

Elsewhere, Carmelo also spoke about how his move to the Thunder has rejuvenated him and put some energy back into his game. It sounds like playing for the Knicks was dragging him down and sucking a lot of the fun out of basketball for him, which isn’t going to be a problem now that he’s in OKC.

“I’m like born again a little bit,” he said. “I feel like I’m in college again. My second college campus being around in a city with a college feel. The energy and joy is back with the game of basketball. I can feel it when I wake up. That energy is different. I think you’ll see something special.”

Can you blame Carmelo for being this happy? After what he endured in NYC over the last few years, the idea of going into a season with a championship being a realistic goal has to feel great. And while the Knicks players who played with him probably won’t be thrilled to hear what he had to say about his time with the team, it’s hard to argue with the things he said and it’ll be interesting to see what he looks like once he starts taking the court for the Thunder on a nightly basis.

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Eric Garner’s Family Will Receive Nearly $4 Million From New York City

The family of Eric Garner is set to receive almost $4 million in payments from the city of New York, according to new claims from lawyers involved with the case.

After previously approving a $5.9 million settlement in July 2015, the New York Post is reporting that payments are starting to be distributed to pivotal members of Garner's family. His widow, Esaw Snipes, will receive $1.4 million, while Garner's three-year-old daughter, Legacy Jayleen Garner-Miller, will be awarded around $1.3 million.

Attorneys involved with the Garner case expressed their excitement over an increase in the money made available for Garner's daughter.

“I'm very happy that Legacy is going to be getting an increase in funds from that was originally proposed,” said Lorraine Coyle, the lawyer representing Garner-Miller. “The big issue is what the attorneys fees are.”

When the settlement was first announced back in 2015, New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer released a statement about the matter, highlighting the gravity of the Garner case because of its impact on broader sociopolitical discussion.

“We are all familiar with the events that lead to the death of Eric Garner and the extraordinary impact his passing has had on our city and our nation. It forced us to examine the state of race relations, and the relationship between our police force and the people they serve,” said Stringer. “I believe that we have reached an agreement that acknowledges the tragic nature of Mr. Garner’s death while balancing my office’s fiscal responsibility to the city.”

Other members of the family receiving parts of the settlement include Garner's daughters, Erica and Emerald Snipes ($163,600), their older brother Eric Snipes ($204,000), and their younger brother Emery Snipes ($482,000). Emery Snipes is the only member of this group who is a minor. 

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What You Need to Know About the 25-Year-Old Douche Bro Behind Fyre Festival

For the last four or five days, your Twitter timeline has no doubt been inundated with the nightmare situation known as Fyre Festival, which went from being a $12,000-a-pop music festival for the rich, white elite to what looked like a disaster recovery situation (with actual disaster relief tents). In the fallout, it's been announced that Ja Rule and the squad behind the Fyre Festival is being hit with a $100 million class action lawsuit for their gross fuck up.

While it's been easy to chuck “Ja Rule The Scammer” tweets out there, it might be time to look at one of the other “names” on the Fyre Festival lawsuit; Billy McFarland. At 25, dude's already had his name affixed to a number of companies, primarily with an emphasis on millennials who want the finer things in life. He's one of those entrepreneurial guys who always seems to have a plan, and can apparently talk his way into a pile of money without truly delivering on his promises. A.k.a. the American way. Here's a look at Billy McFarland's pre-Fyre highlights.

McFarland's always been a businessman

When you were 13, you probably were trying to bag shorty in your math class; yung McFarland was already building his first startup, which apparently outsourced design work. A few years later, he was already dropping out of Bucknell University to found Spling, which at the time was another addition to the social networking space that secured $400,000 in funding back in 2011.

Neither of these startups caused as much havoc as his 2014 startup Magnises, which found McFarland creating his own black card (which after turned into an app, Magnises NOW) for millennials who were trying to get their IRL social status game up. It sounds dope, but apparently, you had to promise to spend $250,000 a year through the card (with a $250 annual fee) to get the Magnises perks like 24/7 concierge service, special treatment and discounts from elite brands and restaurants, and invites to exclusive events.

At the time, McFarland told Bloomberg that Magnises “enhances and really improves your everyday life in the city,” but in January of 2017, Business Insider reported that cardholders felt scammed, saying that the perks that Magnises promised (which included everything from Hamilton tickets to SR-22 plane rides to the Hamptons) were not being met. At the time, McFarland said Magnises “hit some roadblocks along the way, and that's what happens when you grow really quickly, and that's on me.” But McFarland's troubles weren't focused solely on Magnises' troubles.

McFarland trashed his $13,000-a-month West Village home

It's a given that when most young guys secure a bag, they might go ham with their earnings. According to the New York Post, in 2013 McFarland had a 500-person birthday party for photographer/socialite Patrick McMullan at his $13,750-a-month duplex on Greenwich Ave. This was one of many “blowout parties” that the landlord said caused roughly $62,000 worth of damage to the spot. At the time, the owner was looking for McFarland to pony up $100,000 in damages, but McFarland said the charges were “not valid.”

WTF is Fyre Media?

That's hard to say; according to LinkedIn, Fyre Media, Inc. was founded in 2015 is “an on demand service that makes booking the most influential celebrities, artists, athletes, models, and entertainers seamless and transparent.” They have an app, and it looks like some of their “exclusive” artists feature Fat Joe, Waka Flocka, Soulja Boy, Jim Jones, and Ja Rule. Rule, who has been listed as a co-founder of Fyre, is reportedly the “mastermind” behind the Fyre Festival, which McFarland was touting as a “luxury music festival” that was due to span two weekends (April 28-30, 2017 and May 5-7, 2017) in the Bahamas.

Aside from the musical acts, which were to include everyone from G.O.O.D. Music and Blink-182 to Disclosure and Lil Yachty, Fyre Festival was reportedly set to have $1 million worth of “hidden treasures” that would be found all over the island. It was also set to feature all kinds of rich, elite millennials attending, paying upwards of $12,000-a-pop to experience the music, art installations, talks, amazing food, and much more while chilling on the sands of Fyre Cay in the Bahamas.

As we now know, what the people got when they hit the island was the exact opposite of a “luxury music festival” experience, a day which McFarland told Rolling Stone was “definitely the toughest day” of his short, intriguing, possibly scam-filled life. It doesn't help that the festival appeared to be doomed from the start, with everything from “a rampant shark problem” and sandflies to the fucking FEMA tents and not having a stage(?!) setup revealed that Fyre was the dumpster fire it turned out to be from the rip.

McFarland also told Rolling Stone that “there will be make-up dates, May 2018 in the U.S., free for everybody who signed up for this festival,” although at this point, with his cache (and the social media shitstorm that followed the Fyre Festival) and that $100 million lawsuit looming over his head, what masochist would want to subject themselves to Fyre Festival, The Sequel?

Maybe McFarland needs to do what he does best: find new ways to rope money-hungry millennials into giving him more of their cheddar.


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Rikers Island Captain Resigns After Video of Her Kissing Inmate Surfaces

A veteran officer of New York's Department of Corrections has resigned after a cell phone video of her kissing an inmate in his jail cell went public.

You can see footage of that video here.

That clip, although brief, shows captain Shantay Dash walking up to the prisoner whom she has a conversation with seconds before leaning in for a kiss. Afterwards she yells, “What the heck?” After that, they exchange a high-five.

Sources told PIX11 that the inmate utilized a hidden contraband phone to record the whole incident.

Dash reportedly resigned just shy of reaching her ten-year anniversary as a Rikers employee, which means she won't get a pension. By leaving her post, she's also walking away from an annual salary of $80,000. On top of that, according to the New York Post, Dash earned over $134,000 last year. What a time to get caught.

PIX11 also says that commissioner Joe Ponte spoke to them several weeks ago about “inappropriate relationships” between inmates and staff, as part of a 14-point plan to reform the complex.

“They develop relationships that are unhealthy,” Ponte said at the time. “They get staff—again, in small numbers—to bring in phones and contraband.”

In fact, Dash had been arrested in January after she allegedly brought a tattoo gun into the facility so a female inmate could edit some ink that had linked her to a string of robberies she had committed. Despite successfully altering the tattoo, she was still convicted and given a 51-years-to-life sentence. As a direct consequence, Dash was placed on “modified duty away from inmates,” but she wasn't fired.

Seems like she kind of wasted that break.

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Jay-Z Working On $20 Million Deal With Samsung Mobile?


By Andie Lowenstein

Jay-Z’s business empire is rapidly expanding building, with new reports claiming that he is set to sign a $20 million deal with Samsung Mobile.

According to the New York Post, Hov is apparently looking to set-up a music streaming service to promote acts signed to his Roc Nation label, including Rita Ora, Alexis Jordan, and J. Cole, via the company’s smartphones. This new streaming music service would give Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine’s “Daisy” subscription service some competition.

It’s said that the eight-figure deal will be finalized in the next few weeks. Back in March, Universal Music Group signed a two-year deal with Samsung for their Kleek music streaming service. Just one month later, Jay-Z and Roc Nation signed a partnership with Universal Music Group and Live Nation worth $150 million.

That’s not all for Jay-Z though. Hov’s Roc Nation Sports announced on April 25 that Skylar Diggins, third overall pick in the 2013 WNBA Draft, had signed with the sports agency. Diggins is a five-time USA Basketball gold medalist and four-time All-American at Notre Dame.