Latinx Files: The fight over Jenni Rivera’s estate

Collage of Jenni Rivera with butterflies
(Helen Quach / De Los; Photo by Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times)
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When Jenni Rivera died in a plane crash in 2012, she left behind a lasting musical legacy that is still going strong more than a decade later. The self-proclaimed “Diva de la Banda” was a self-made star with a veritable rags-to-riches story. She was a true trailblazer, a U.S.-born woman who took up plenty of space in the male-dominated world of música Mexicana.

Rivera also left behind an estate that at one point was estimated at $28 million.

As my colleagues Brittny Mejia and Harriet Ryan reported Wednesday, that fortune is at the center of a very public family feud between Rivera’s offspring and their grandfather, uncle and aunt. The scions of the Long Beach legend alleged in a federal lawsuit filed last year that their elders concocted a plan to funnel money from their late mother’s estate to two music companies controlled by their grandfather, Pedro.


Rivera left everything to her four youngest children (her eldest daughter, Janney Marin, better known as Chiquis, had been disowned) and named her younger sister, Rosie, as executor of her estate. Once in charge, Rosie tapped her brother, Juan, to help oversee Jenni Rivera Enterprises, a company that in addition to music included a tequila brand, beauty products and a fashion line.

The duo were reportedly ill-equipped for the task.

“We’re talking about two people who had no real business experience, so it was like training rookies for an impending professional game,” Rivera’s onetime manager, Pete Salgado, wrote in “Her Name Was Dolores,” a 2017 book about his former client’s life told from his perspective.

The catalyst for the clash was Juan Angel López — Rivera’s youngest child — who asked his aunt for a financial accounting of his share of the inheritance in 2021. López, who was 20 at the time, wasn’t particularly discreet about his inquiry, granting an interview to a Univision reporter to speak about his demand.

“We’ve always had questions, but when we asked, they always had the excuse that we were doing so because we didn’t have confidence in them, becoming very defensive,” López said of his aunt and uncle. “They say we are disrespectful children and that we aren’t grateful.”

After back-and-forth finger-pointing on social media and in the Spanish-language press, Rosie resigned from her role as chief executive of Jenni Rivera Enterprises and relinquished her executor duties to Jacquelin Campos, Rivera’s second-oldest child. Rosie and Juan would go on to work for their father. The transfer of power was publicly presented as amicable, but that civility would prove to be short lived.

In September 2023, Campos, on behalf of the estate, filed a federal lawsuit against Cintas Acuario and Ayana Musical, accusing the companies of — among other things — copyright infringement, breach of contract and fraudulent concealment. The complaint asserts that the two entities misrepresented ownership of Jenni Rivera’s music, name, image and likeness, and had raked in millions in profit — money that should have gone to the estate.


A lawyer representing the companies owned by Pedro Rivera tried to get the lawsuit dismissed in February, but U.S. District Judge Stanley Blumenfeld Jr. ruled that the case can continue. The two sides are expected to go to trial next year.

Whatever the outcome of this legal dispute may be, one thing’s clear: there’s no love lost between the two factions of the Rivera clan.

“I reached a point where I no longer need these people in my life,” López told Univision in 2021. “I could go the rest of my life without talking to them and I believe I’d be happier.”

“I believe that family ties no longer count in this case,” Juan Rivera said after the judge’s ruling.

To learn more about the Rivera family feud, go here.

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Latinx Files
(Jackie Rivera / For The Times; Martina Ibáñez-Baldor / Los Angeles Times)

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