Angelo Medina, the Puerto Rican empresario who managed Ricky Martin for 12 years, has filed a $63.5 million countersuit against his former client, alleging breach of contract, unjust enrichment and pain and suffering.
“I’ve been forced into doing this,” Medina tells Billboard.biz, noting that he will donate any money he wins from the suit to charity. “This is a moral issue, not a business issue.”
Medina’s suit, filed March 3 in Superior Court in San Juan, Puerto Rico, is in response to an action Ricky Martin Enterprises (RME) filed against him Feb. 17 in New York Supreme Court. RME is headquartered in San Juan.
In his suit, Martin seeks $2.5 million from his ex-manager for “unearned management commissions through the assertion of claims for unjust enrichment, breach of agreement and breach of fiduciary duty.”
The suit refers to several advances that Martin received from his label, Sony Music Entertainment, stemming from his obligation to record at least five more albums.
Beyond the legal issues, Martin’s suit has left many in the Latin music industry perplexed, as his relationship with Medina was one of the most enduring, and closest, in the industry.
Medina began handling Martin when the singer was a relative unknown fresh out of Menudo. With Medina, Martin achieved what many consider to be the most successful crossover in Latin music history.
Martin’s new manager, Benny Medina (no relationship to Angelo Medina) of Handprint Entertainment in Los Angeles, did not return repeated calls from Billboard.
A press release issued in Puerto Rico by Martin’s public relations agency stated that “prior to filing the suit, representatives for Ricky Martin Enterprises Inc. exhausted all avenues to come to a cordial and reasonable agreement.”
John Rosenberg, who represents RME, says, “Ricky Martin Enterprises is content to have these issues addressed and resolved through the judicial process. Accordingly, their only comment on these matters will be in the context of the pending legal procedures.”
Martin amicably parted ways with Angelo Medina in September 2003.
In another interesting move, Martin switched agencies, going from United Talent Agency to Creative Artists Agency. And last week, he reportedly ended his contract with his longtime publicist.