Courthouse News Service
Courthouse News Service

Courthouse News Service
Thursday, July 10, 2008Last Update: 12:21:15 PM

Private Eyes Say Porn King
Joe Francis Owes Them $198,000

     SAN FRANCISCO (CN) - Joe Francis, the much-sued owner of the "Girls Gone Wild" soft core porn franchise, owes a private investigator $198,000 for work on his lawsuits, Palladino & Sutherland claims in Superior Court. The breach of contract claim states that Francis owes but has refused to pay the Page Street private eyes $197,926.72, plus 10% interest from Feb. 10, for "Francis Litigations."
     Francis has been sued repeatedly by young women who claimed they were underage and/or that Francis' minions knew that but got them drunk anyway, then persuaded them to strip and perform for cameras.
     One of the latest litigants, Ashley Dupre, known as "Kristin," the prostitute whose dates with New York Gov. Elliott Spitzer forced Spitzer's resignation, recently withdrew her lawsuit against Francis, who allegedly discovered her on an old videotape and exploited it in the aftermath of the Spitzer sex fiasco.
     A letter on Palladino & Sutherland letterhead, attached to this bare-bones complaint, states that Francis agreed to pay Jack Palladino $500 an hour plus expenses, and his "staff operatives" $200 to $275 an hour plus expenses. The letter states that Palladino & Sutherland requires a $100,000 retainer, to be put into a trust account, and that the client must keep $100,000 in the account.
     The letter, dated Oct. 1, 2007, identifies four cases of "Francis Litigations," which involved "IRS," "GGW," "Contraband," and "Maben."
     Palladino & Sutherland are represented by Eric Shaw.