Co-living company Ollie hires Fyre Fest promoter’s employees

Magnises faces uncertain future amid fraud charges leveled against Billy McFarland

New York /
Jul.July 25, 2017 06:10 PM

Co-living company Ollie hired five former employees of Magnises, the black-card startup founded by Fyre Fest mastermind and accused fraudster Billy McFarland.

Ollie’s co-founder Chris Bledsoe was adamant that his firm is merely hiring former Magnises employees to help run events and is not acquiring Magnises. The distinction matters because McFarland was arrested on fraud charges last month.

Magnises, founded in 2014, bills itself as an elite membership platform that gives its users access to exclusive events in return for a $250 annual fee. In January, Business Insider reported that the platform had almost 40,000 members, mostly in New York.

Ollie, which is backed by real estate developers Jonathan Simon and Matthew Baron, had signed a contract with Magnises to offer residents at its buildings monthly events, such as happy hours and food tastings. Bledsoe said he now hired the employees to be able to continue offering events.

McFarland became infamous earlier this year when the Fyre Festival, a music festival in the Bahamas he promoted along with rapper Ja Rule, took a disastrous turn, leaving attendees stranded in makeshift tents on a remote island. Attendees later filed several lawsuits against the promoters, and in late June, McFarland was arrested for alleged wire fraud. Prosecutors accuse the promoter, who is out on bail, of lying to investors.

Magnises, too, has had its share of controversy. Business Insider reported that several members accused the company failing to deliver on its promises and charging them unwanted fees. “We’ve hit some roadblocks along the way, and that’s what happens when you grow really quickly, and that’s on me,” McFarland said at the time.  In 2015, a Greenwich Village landlord sued McFarland for allegedly hosting “Animal House” parties for Magnises that damaged the townhouse he was renting.

Representatives for Magnises could not immediately be reached for comment.

Former Magnises employees hired by Ollie include Alexis Heller, formerly Magnises’ head of membership and customer experience and now Ollie’s member coordinator, according to Linkedin.

Ollie, founded in 2016 by brothers Chris and Andrew Bledsoe, currently operates one New York property — the serviced, Furnished Microapartment Building Carmel Place in Kips Bay — along with properties in Pittsburgh, Los Angeles and Jersey City. It plans to open a co-living space next year in Long Island City at 29-26 Northern Boulevard, a building owned by Simon and Baron’s firm, Simon Baron Development.


Related Articles

arrow_forward_ios
From left: Amy Schumer and 190 Riverside Drive; Jimmy Fallon and 34 Gramercy Park East (Getty Images, Beyond My Ken, CC BY-SA 4.0 - via Wikimedia Commons, iStock)
Jimmy Fallon, Amy Schumer selling Manhattan pads
Jimmy Fallon, Amy Schumer selling Manhattan pads
OKO's Vladislav Doronin and the Crown Building ( OKO Group, Aman)
Crown Building notches another peak sale with $55M condo
Crown Building notches another peak sale with $55M condo
R-L: Willow's Kevin Danehy, Era Ventures' Clelia Warburg Peters, Fifth Wall's Brad Greiwe and The Real Deal's Hiten Samtani (Photo by Paul Dilakian)
Real estate tech is coming for your business
Real estate tech is coming for your business
A photo illustration of a crystal ball predicting future home prices (iStock)
Home sales, building to slow: Fannie Mae
Home sales, building to slow: Fannie Mae
New York skyline
Rising interest rates will dampen city’s investment sales market this year
Rising interest rates will dampen city’s investment sales market this year
L-R: Douglas Elliman CEO Scott Durkin, Serhant CEO Ryan Serhant, Brown Harris Stevens CEO Bess Freedman, The Real Deal's Hiten Samtani (Photos by Paul Dilakian)
Top resi execs talk brand building, tech and politics at TRD NYC event
Top resi execs talk brand building, tech and politics at TRD NYC event
Southampton Village mayor Jesse Warren (Getty Images, iStock, Illustration by Kevin Cifuentes for The Real Deal)
Southampton Village allows owners to collect summer’s rent upfront
Southampton Village allows owners to collect summer’s rent upfront
Zillow economist Nicole Bichaud (Zillow, iStock)
Where have home values grown more, suburbs or cities? The answer may surprise you
Where have home values grown more, suburbs or cities? The answer may surprise you
arrow_forward_ios

The Deal's newsletters give you the latest scoops, fresh headlines, marketing data, and things to know within the industry.

Loading...