Edwards, who received an MBE after leading the first all-female crew to sail round the world, also faces losing her home over other alleged debts of up to £1m.
Higgins said he was ‘helping [Edwards] out with media and PR issues’.
Sports Impact was retained ten months ago to publicise two races Edwards was organising, the Oryx Cup 2005 and Quest Qatar 2006. The agency estimates its advertising value equivalent (AVE) was in excess of £500,000.
In the first three months of the campaign, it claims it took part in 27 meetings with the media and competitors on Edwards’ behalf.
But after the agency invoiced Edwards, she disputed around £50,000 of its £80,000 fees and expenses. Sports Impact petitioned the High Court for the closure of Edwards’ firms Maiden Ocean Racing and Maiden Ocean Racing Qatar.
At a hearing before a High Court judge this month, Edwards agreed to pay £32,000, but continues to dispute the remainder of the fees. The case has been adjourned until September.
‘It was a case of: do you stand up for your rights, and run the risk of publicity leaving a bad mark on your agency, or do you convey the fact that your work won’t be taken for granted?’ said Sports Impact chief executive John Collard.
Edwards is alleged to owe £500,000 to Yorkshire businessman Andrew Pindar and up to £500,000 in unpaid wages to her crew and staff.
Edwards was unavailable for comment as PRWeek went to press.