Celine Dion is speaking out after losing big in a dispute with her former agent.
Following months of negotiations, California Labor Commission attorney David Gurley ruled against the singer and ordered her to continue paying her former agent Rob Prinz on a $489 million touring contract he negotiated.
“We think they just got it wrong,” Dion’s attorney Zia Modabber said to Billboard in a statement.
Eleven months after the complaint was filed with the statewide Labor Commission, Gurley found that Prinz’s commission agreement with Dion’s former manager was binding. Modabber, on the other hand, said the ruling “imposes on Celine a common agent’s agreement” that “wildly overpays Mr. Prinz for his contribution.”
As for Prinz’s team, his lawyers say the agent’s fee for his work ( $11 million to $13 million paid out over 10 years) was well established and backed up with emails, contract, and oral agreements. This spans the three decades Prinz, Dion, and her late husband and former manager, René Angélil, all worked together.
“This ruling leaves no doubt that Rob Prinz and ICM not only had a legally enforceable agreement to commission Ms. Dion’s AEG deal, but that, throughout her brilliant career, Rob represented her in an exemplary manner, culminating in an unprecedented touring and residency contract,” said Rick Levy, general counsel for ICM Partners, in a statement to Billboard.
These negotiations include the contract covering the Celine’s residency and Courage World Tour, which began in 2017 and plays through 2026. This includes $272 million in guaranteed income to Dion for 544 concerts in Las Vegas, $212 million for 198 touring shows and a $5 million signing bonus. That‘s roughly $500,000 per Las Vegas residency performance and $1,075,000 per touring show.
This also means a big pay day for Prinz, whose work negotiating the contract with AEG means he was to be paid 1.5% commission for the Vegas shows and a 3% commission for her touring shows--excluding hometown concerts in Montreal. Celine and her representatives argue that Prinz and ICM overcharged her, using old commission agreements, which is a charge Prinz and his team denies.
“I have paid Mr. Prinz many millions of dollars over the years. And when this all started, my team made an extremely generous offer to pay him and ICM many more millions for years to come,” Dion said to Billboard in a statement. “I’m not saying that Mr. Prinz did not do anything, but he’s taking much more credit for my career than he deserves. Mr. Prinz had never asked to be paid for 10 years for a few months’ work, and I never agreed to it.”
Following the decision on Friday, Dion and her lawyers said they were planning to invoke their right to have the case adjudicated in the California Superior Court system.
“We will appeal this decision and have a jury decide what is right,” Mr. Modabber insisted.