Jenny Rivera at the Pepsi Center, August 22, 2009. Photo by Julio Enriquez/CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons.
Jenny Rivera at the Pepsi Center, August 22, 2009. Photo by Julio Enriquez/CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons.
Jenny Rivera at the Pepsi Center, August 22, 2009. Photo by Julio Enriquez/CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons.

A former manager of the late Jenni Rivera and the singer’s family settled a legal dispute in which he was ordered by a state commission to pay almost $750,000 to the entertainer’s estate for allegedly booking concerts for her without a license.

Attorney Steven  Eyre, on behalf of ex-Rivera manager Gabriel Vazquez, filed papers Friday in Los Angeles Superior Court stating the case was resolved. No terms were divulged. Trial was scheduled to begin Monday.     Killed in a Dec. 9, 2012, plane crash in the mountains of northern Mexico alongside Rivera were her publicist, Arturo Rivera; makeup artist Jacobo Yebale; hairstylist Jorge Armando Sanchez Vasquez; and Mario Macias Pacheco, her attorney.

The two pilots also died.

In August 2013, Vazquez appealed a 2012 finding by an attorney for the state Labor Commissioner’s Office that the verbal contract he and Rivera entered in 2001 for him to book performances for her in the United States and Mexico was void because he was not licensed as a talent agent under the state Labor Code.

He was ordered to pay $746,764 to the Rivera family trust.

Vazquez worked with Rivera for 10 years.

Rivera was still alive when the Labor Commissioner’s Office heard her petition for review and she testified during the proceedings. According to the commission’s court papers, Rivera was performing in Mexico in March 2011 when she discovered a copy of a statement which Vazquez or his employees accidentally dropped.

“According to Rivera, the statement showed her earnings being $20,000 more than the amount Vazquez had reported to her as her earnings for the particular performance,” the commission’s court papers stated. “Rivera testified she also discovered discrepancies in the expenses being reported to her compared with the expenses on the statement she found.”

The actual expenses were less than what Vazquez reported, the commission’s court papers stated.

“Rivera confronted Vazquez, who denied stealing any money from Rivera,” according to the commission’s court papers.

Rivera terminated her relationship with Vazquez on April 1, 2011.

Vazquez maintained the Labor Commissioner’s Office did not have jurisdiction over the case. He also claimed he did not arrange concerts for Rivera, but only took offers and passed them on to Rivera to make her own decision.

But the commission found that Vazquez was negotiating terms of the contracts when he was setting fees she was paid for each performance.

“It is simply not credible Vazquez was only serving as a messenger from the promoter to Rivera,” the commission’s court papers state. “Nor is it credible he did not negotiate her fees.”

Rivera testified she overheard Vazquez negotiating terms on the telephone on many occasions for concerts in the U.S. and Mexico, according to the commission’s court papers. She also said Vazquez provided her a list of her concert locations and dates and that he only sought her approval about 30 percent of the time, the commission’s court papers stated.

“Based on the totality of the evidence, we are convinced Vazquez negotiated the fees on most of Rivera’s performances,” the commission’s court papers stated.

The case was taken under submission by the commission hearing officer in September 2012 after all of the evidence was heard. After Rivera’s death, her  sister, Rosie Rivera Flores, stepped into her late sister’s shoes as the estate’s representative.

Rivera, 43 when she died, dominated the banda style of regional Mexican music popular in California and northwestern Mexico. She was one of the biggest stars on Mexican television and was popular on “regional Mexican” stations in California.

Rivera was born in Long Beach and was buried there.

—City News Service

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