Since the moment Alex Jones and his company Infowars filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, the people to whom he owes a lot of money have suspected that he’s not being entirely honest. Those people include parents who lost their children at Sandy Hook; Jones was ordered to pay them nearly a billion dollars after two civil trials last year. New filings in the bankruptcy proceedings involving Jones and Infowars have uncovered another weird little scheme, one that seems to have been designed to personally and secretly pay Jones. In a hearing Monday before a bankruptcy judge in Texas, a lawyer for some of the Sandy Hook families called the arrangement “extremely concerning.”
In a court filing on March 24, a lawyer named Melissa Haselden, a trustee appointed to oversee Infowars’ financial processes during the bankruptcy proceedings, revealed that she’d heard “a rumor” about a new entity created by an Infowars employee. The company, Haselden wrote in her filing, is called Mountain Way Marketing LLC, which was created in August 2022. (Although Haselden doesn’t mention this in her filing, business records from the Texas Secretary of State show that Mountain Way’s “registered agent” is a man named John Haarmann, a longtime Infowars employee. The fact that Haarmann works for Infowars was mentioned in a separate filing earlier this month. A representative for Free Speech Systems in the bankruptcy hearing today described Haarmann, without using his name, as an “unsophisticated person” on the “production side” of the business.)
After Mountain Way’s creation, Haselden wrote in her filing, “Mountain Way began marketing ads for the InfoWars broadcast and invoicing the advertisers.” She determined, she added, “that Mountain Way received revenue of $243,742.09 from the referenced advertising. Mountain Way paid a total of $157,272.76 to Jones from these funds. Additional revenue from these ads is expected to be received.”
All of this is extremely interesting, because the only advertisements you can ever expect to hear on any Infowars broadcast are for the company’s own products. Those include supplements, survival gear, and books, hawked at incredible volume and with metronomic regularity by Jones himself. So, the idea that a third-party company was suddenly creating ads for Infowars and “invoicing the advertisers” is bizarre on its face; the fact that the company was created by an Infowars employee made the whole thing stranger still. A cynic might conclude that the company was created to hide money from the Sandy Hook parents and the courts; for their part, lawyers for Free Speech Systems said in court that Haarmann and Jones were both “completely forthcoming” when asked about the arrangement, and were working to return the money.
Haselden also wrote that the whole arrangement was coming to a speedy end: “Mountain Way and Jones have committed to returning these funds to the Debtor and to cease these marketing activities.” The debtors in the case are Jones and Free Speech Systems, meaning the money has, in essence, made an onerous and extremely odd little circle.
In their own disclosure filed on the evening of March 24, lawyers for Jones and Free Speech Systems confirmed that the arrangement was coming to an end, and that Jones would return the money he’d been personally paid. In court, Vickie Driver, a bankruptcy attorney for Jones, also said that she’d previously tried to disclose the existence of Mountain Way to the other side.
“I did believe that I disclosed this to the committee,” she did the court. “I did attempt to disclose this to them in this weekly call. It wasn’t meant to be something that they could not and would not know.”
In their own filing on Monday, March 27, the creditors committee – which includes the Sandy Hook parents – said the discovery of Mountain Way was of “grave concern” to them.
In the hearing held on Monday afternoon, Judge Christopher Lopez also called the discovery of Mountain Way “troubling” and noted that the company appeared to have been created shortly after he issued an order reducing Jones’ salary.
“What you’re telling me is that someone formed an organization a couple of weeks later,” Lopez said to the assorted attorneys, “and then started selling advertisements on the side?”
This is, to put it with a Texas-sized degree of understatement, not the first time Jones and Infowars have been accused of doing something shady with money during the bankruptcy process. Free Speech Systems, the company that owns Infowars, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in July 2022, in the midst of the first civil trial against Jones and the company. In December of the same year, Jones personally filed for bankruptcy protection. Even before then – during an earlier bankruptcy protection filing from Infowars that was ultimately dropped – the Sandy Hook families suspected that Jones was using bankruptcy proceedings to hide and move money. They pointed out that Infowars was claiming to owe a suspiciously large amount of money to one entity, PQPR Holdings, and that Jones had also created what they called “an alphabet soup of shell entities” owed by himself, his children, his parents and other Infowars insiders.
This alleged pattern of playing keep-away with Infowars’ money has continued. A report from the New York Times earlier this month showed that Jones has continued to transfer money to various family members and Infowars insiders, including a new company founded recently by his personal trainer.
The Mountain Way incident, then, seems to potentially represent another way for Alex Jones to continue to line his pockets. That seems to be the view of lawyers representing some of the Sandy Hook families; in the hearing today, one of those lawyers, Kyle Kimpler, said of the arrangement “This is extremely concerning to my clients. I do not abide by the three strike rule on fiduciary duty violations. I’m a little bit concerned about the idea that there is no harm, no foul here, that the money has been returned and [they] promise not to do it again.”
For now, the creditors committee is simply requesting more information on Mountain Way from Free Speech Systems and Jones; in the future, though, the scheme could lead to serious headaches for Jones and the company.
In his own comments, Judge Lopez said of Mountain Way, “I won’t call it a scheme. I will call it troubling.” He also said, “If there are any more Mountain Ways out there, I’d like to know about them.”