Celine Dion: 'I Feel Betrayed' by Ex-Agent

California panel rules against her in legal dispute, and it may cost her $13M
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 20, 2020 4:25 PM CST
Celine Dion: 'I Feel Betrayed' by Ex-Agent
Celine Dion, shown in April 2019 in Los Angeles, plans to appeal.   (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)

Celine Dion doesn't like the terms of a 2017 deal between her husband and a concert agent, but the California Labor Commission ruled Friday that she has to pay up anyway. The contract could cost her $13 million over its 10-year life, the Guardian reports. Rob Prinz made the agreement with Réne Angélil, Dion's late husband, that pays him 1.5% to 3% commission on Dion's concerts, including those in her current residency in Las Vegas. Prinz negotiated the AEG deal that, by 2026, will have paid Dion $272 million for the Las Vegas concerts and $212 million for touring, along with a $5 million bonus. He was later fired when he wouldn't cut his commission. The contract "wildly overpays Mr. Prinz," Dion's lawyer said, per Billboard. Dion says she believes she was taken advantage of because Angélil "wasn’t here to stand up for me at the hearing," adding, "I feel betrayed."

The commission found the contract binding. "We think they just got it wrong," Dion's lawyer said. Lawyers for Prinz argued that his fees were well-established during the three decades he worked with Dion and her husband. Dion promised to appeal the ruling in California Superior Court. "I'm not saying that Mr. Prinz did not do anything, but he’s taking much more credit for my career than he deserves," she said in a statement. "Mr. Prinz had never asked to be paid for 10 years for a few months' work, and I never agreed to it." An entertainment lawyer not involved in the case told Billboard the ruling was the correct one. "You can't have an agent one day negotiate a half-billion dollar deal for you and the next day say, 'You're fired, so I don't have to pay you now,'" he said. (Read more Celine Dion stories.)

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