$80K for Alex Jones CT trip? Sandy Hook families want to stop 'siphoning' of Infowars money

Photo of Jordan Nathaniel Fenster

Sandy Hook families have asked a Texas bankruptcy court to appoint a trustee to take over daily operation and oversight of Alex Jones’ company Free Speech Systems.

Free Speech Systems, the parent company for Jones' Infowars, filed for bankruptcy earlier this year citing millions in debt, most notably $54 million owed to a company called PQPR, which is also owned and operated by Jones and his parents. The filing temporarily delayed an ongoing trial in Connecticut to determine how much Jones owes Sandy Hook families and an FBI agent in defamation damages. 

But attorneys representing Sandy Hook families say Jones began siphoning money from Free Speech Systems into his own accounts years before the bankruptcy filing. Attorneys for Free Speech Systems could not be immediately reached for comment on Wednesday morning. 

Jones has also been spending quite a bit. Among other expenditures raised during hearings at the federal bankruptcy court in Houston is an $80,000 request for a security detail during Jones’ trip this week to Connecticut, according to Avi Moshenberg, an attorney representing Sandy Hook families. 

Jones is in Connecticut this week to testify in a second civil trial, brought by eight Sandy Hook families and an FBI agent, to determine how much he and Free Speech Systems must pay plaintiffs after a summary judgment declared him liable for defamation. A previous trial held in Texas awarded plaintiffs Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis $49.3 million in punitive and compensatory damages.   

“They had asked for permission to spend $80,000 of the debtors’ money, the company’s money, to provide Jones’ security to go to Connecticut for this trial,” Moshenberg said. “The judge, understandably, had a lot of reservations about that. That’s a lot of money.”

After a company files for bankruptcy, it must ask the court to spend money, and on Tuesday, federal bankruptcy Judge Christopher Lopez denied Free Speech Systems’ pick of a chief restructuring officer and attorney, citing Jones’ personal expenditures. 

In a statement outside of the Waterbury courthouse on Thursday afternoon, Jones said Free Speech Systems would "actively and quickly retain replacement professionals." 

 "The bankruptcy court had no criticism of any of Free Speech activities and in fact retained our lead lawyer to now lead the case," Jones said. 

That leaves Jones remaining wholly in control of Free Speech Systems, Moshenberg said: “Because the chief restructuring officer is out, there's no one left to run the company other than Alex Jones.”

Though the lawyers representing Sandy Hook families agreed with the judge’s ruling and joined in motions to deny those applications, Moshenberg said Jones’ continued control of Free Speech Systems raises concerns.

The court previously appointed attorney Melissa Haselden to be trustee in the case, though her current role is limited to acting as a mediator between the parties to make sure creditors get paid and the company continues to operate. 

"The court’s ruling opens up Free Speech to become a better, leaner and more responsive operation, free from the issues and problems noted by the court with their professionals," Jones said. "And I think Judge Lopez in Texas has been very fair and doing a great job.”

Moshenberg said he had planned to request during a planned Oct. 12 hearing for Haselden’s role to be expanded to include daily operation of Free Speech Systems. 

“What we've asked the court to do is to expand her role and to be put her in charge of the company to make sure that the company's assets are protected, that they’re bringing in as much money as possible, that they're not wasting money by siphoning it off to Alex Jones and his parents and to make sure that the company is running the right way so they can pay off the Sandy Hook families,” Moshenberg said. 

But with the judge’s decision to not allow the requested restructuring officer, Moshenberg said he may file for Haselden to assume that role in an interim capacity, before the Oct. 12 hearing. 

“Something needs to be done and it needs to be done fast,” he said. “She ought to be in charge of running the company because he can't be trusted. Or some sort of solution to that effect needs to be done because it cannot be in Alex Jones’ hands.”

Judge Christopher Lopez, Moshenberg said, has already expanded Haselden’s role: “He's already authorized her to investigate some of these issues around potential fraudulent transfers, that the company is committed to Alex Jones and his parents, basically siphoning off the company's money to Alex Jones through these other shell companies.” 

Mosenberg said to protect the money that would otherwise be paid to Sandy Hook families, Haselden’s role should be expanded further. 

“He's already authorized her to start investigating debt in addition to her normal default role,” he said. “We've asked for her to just take charge of the company itself, because there's no one on the Jones' side that can be trusted to do it the right way.”