Love don't cost a thing, but management and legal woes can cost tens of millions of dollars. Weeks after firing longtime manager Benny Medina, Jennifer Lopez has filed a petition with California authorities that accuses him of acting to ''divert and misappropriate monies'' belonging to the star. She wants the California Labor Commissioner to terminate all existing contracts between her and Medina for which he might still receive commissions (including movie, music, and fashion deals), and she's seeking millions in back commissions plus 10 percent interest.
Lopez fired Medina, who's widely credited with orchestrating her rise to stardom over the last few years, as part of a housecleaning last month that also included sacking her talent agency (Endeavor) and her publicist (Alan Nierob). At issue in her dispute with Medina is whether he acted not just as her manager but also as her talent agent (a job for which he is not licensed in California), negotiating deals and claiming commissions.
Medina told the Hollywood Reporter that he was surprised by Wednesday's filing, as he claimed he had been negotiating a settlement with Lopez. (Lopez's attorney, Barry Hirsch, suggested that he filed suit because those negotiations turned sour, saying, ''Jennifer's doing this as the last resort because she feels wronged, taken advantage of and misled.'') Medina issued a statement saying, ''The accusation that I misappropriated money from Jennifer Lopez is both untrue and offensive ... Jennifer Lopez, by making false allegations against me, is now trying to add me to the long list of people whom she has used and discarded after she took from them all she could get ... I look forward to the opportunity to have the world come to know the real Jennifer Lopez. I will defend myself against these lies and will collect from her every dollar for which I am owed.''