The back and forth began in 2014, when Rios filed a lawsuit against Fat Joe, seeking more than $1 million. Rios claimed she’d struck a deal with Fat Joe to split money made by Big Pun after his untimely death in February 2000, but hadn’t received any money from Joe since 2005. Fat Joe and his co-defendant, music publisher John “Jellybean” Benitez of Jelly’s Jams struck a deal with Rios to keep the case from going to trial.
On Wednesday morning (June 22), a deal was announced during a status hearing at Manhattan Federal Court. Neither Fat Joe or Benitez were present, though Fat Joe’s lawyer, Benjamin Stranzl declared to the judge that the parties involved had settled. Terms of the settlement remain confidential but according to reports, it was likely significant—a little over $2 million, in fact.
“Based on information provided and my professional industry knowledge, I have determined that Big Pun has been underpaid by at least $2,076,093,” Ali Adawiya, who testified on behalf of Rios in the lawsuit, wrote, according to documents obtained by Bossip in March 2016.
Last year, Rios and her attorney discussed the then pending lawsuit with AllHipHop.com, expressing their disappointment in Fat Joe’s actions, especially since Pun and Joe were so close.
“He loved Joe and the squad,” Rios said during the interview. “That was his heart. So for him to give so much to them, and give so much to Terror Squad, and make Terror Squad what it was, because he made it what it was…for them to turn their backs on his family, his kids… he’d be heartbroken.”
Rios’ lawyer, Lita Rosario, told Bossip she was pleased with the settlement.
“We think it was fair, and we’re pleased,” she said.
Fat Joe’s lawyers, Stranzl and John Cain refused to comment.
Big Pun, who battled constantly with his weight, was 700 pounds when he died at age 28 of a heart attack.