Joe Francis Sues U.S. for Freezing 2 Accounts

Nov 20, 2009 3:15 PM PST
LOS ANGELES — Mantra Entertainment’s Joe Francis, founder of the "Girls Gone Wild" franchise, has filed a suit to force the IRS to release funds it has levied against two financial accounts.

Francis owes $17,658,358 in 2001, $11,238,582 in 2002 and $4,922,147 in 2003, according to the IRS. Francis denies owing the IRS such amounts.

Court papers reveal that three IRS officials met with Francis on Nov. 6 at Mantra’s Santa Monica, Calif., office and delivered tax due notices.

After they left the Mantra offices, IRS officials served notices to levy on Francis accounts at USB Financial Services and Morgan Stanley Smith Barney.

Francis attorneys told the court that the levies are invalid because the assessments were not given to the Francis before the levies were made, which the government said is incorrect.

The government said Friday that Francis hasn’t been improperly assessed, hasn’t shown irreparable harm and hasn’t shown the inadequacy of legal remedies.

Francis said the frozen accounts have put him on the brink of bankruptcy and preventing him from running his business.

U.S. District Judge Valerie Baker Fairbank has been assigned the case.

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