But Francis said someone had a revelation at the Tuesday morning staff meeting: Did anyone think to check the archives?
They did, he said — and there she was.
"It'll save me a million bucks," Francis told The Associated Press on Tuesday. "It's kind of like finding a winning lottery ticket in the cushions of your couch."
Francis said at that point, his offer was off the table.
"We actually had been dealing with her rep," he said. "Our (offer) was the real deal. We just never made the connection."
Employees got to work on pulling the footage and planned to offer it all on the Web site — with a $29.95 monthly subscription.
Dupre's attorney Don D. Buchwald declined comment.
According to a "Girls Gone Wild" press release, Dupre visited Miami in 2003 to celebrate her 18th birthday. After fighting with a friend and getting thrown out of her hotel, Dupre found a nearby "Girls Gone Wild" bus, the company said.
She signed legal papers and spent a full week on the bus, filming seven full-length tapes which included nudity and same-sex encounters, according to the company.
"I personally ended up buying her a Greyhound bus ticket back home to North Carolina," Francis told the AP.
Francis returned to California last week after being sentenced to time served and fines in Florida in a case involving filming underage girls. He still faces trial on federal tax evasion charges that carry a penalty of up to 10 years in prison.
Dupre's public profile has skyrocketed since former New York Gov. Spitzer resigned earlier this week amid the prostitution scandal. He was accused of spending tens of thousands of dollars on prostitutes, including a February tryst with a call girl named "Kristen," since identified as Dupre.
Dupre's MySpace page was hit more than 5 million times in the days immediately after the scandal broke. Her musical efforts, including two songs posted at the music sharing site Aime Street, were listened to hundreds of thousands of times and played on national airwaves.
Hustler publisher Larry Flynt told The AP last Friday that he e-mailed Dupre offering her $1 million to appear nude in his magazine, but didn't sound optimistic that she would settle for that amount. Flynt suggested that by the time Dupre starts talking, she may be too big a media phenomenon for a simple magazine spread.
"She is no doubt going to do a book. There will probably be a movie," he said. "I think she is going to have so many offers coming in that it will probably be wishful thinking just to get in the door."