With the anticipation of the documentary Big Pun: The Legacy, rumors have begun circulating that Fat Joe has kept royalty money belonging to Pun’s wife and kids, and these claims have been made directly by Pun’s widow, Liza Rios. Last year, Liza blasted Joe by saying that he had intentionally neglected to keep Big Pun’s legacy alive in order to hold off on royalty checks from Pun’s music. Joe denied these allegations in an interview with Complex Magazine by stating:
“I don’t care. I don’t care what she says to me. Not keeping Pun’s memory alive? If I don’t keep Pun’s memory alive, who does? You know everything I do, I represent Big Pun. If I won an award, I represent Big Pun. I’m the only one who says Big Pun is the best rapper on earth. If I don’t rep Big Pun, then who reps Big Pun?” [Click Here For Full Interview]
Now reports are emerging that Liza Rios is living in a homeless shelter. Rios stated in an interview, “I received $160,000 from publishing. The house I was paying mortgage [on] was my husband’s. He bought the house and it wasn’t paid out. The five years I was living there I spent over $120,000 just on mortgage [payments]. Then you [have] the kids, and the food, and the clothes and legal fees…when there’s no money coming in, there’s just money [going] out.” Rios also went on to claim that Pun was an abusive husband and that he beat her.
This morning Fat Joe went on Hot 97 to clear up the rumors. Joe said that he had “no clue” that Pun was in a bad financial situation due to car and motorcycle purchases. After Pun passed away, Joe suggested that Liza attend beauty school and open a salon because he said she would eventually stop receiving money from Pun’s work. Joe claims that all the funding for Pun’s posthumous album Endangered Species went to Liza Rios stating, “no one got paid on this album after Pun’s death…the full advance which was hundreds of thousands of dollars went to Liza Rios and the family.” Joe went on to claim that after paying Liza he once again paid her out of his pocket because she spent the money “unwisely.”
Joe then said that he believed Liza is disrespecting her husband’s legacy by going after him and also claiming Pun pistol whipped and abused her. He said he would love to reach out to Pun’s kids but believes Liza brainwashed them to think he was taking money from the family. Joe ended the interview saying, “I have never made a dollar off of Big Pun after he passed away!”
Liza called Hot 97 shortly after to respond to Joe [Click Here To Listen]. She claimed to have only received $125,000 for Endangered Species and said she has proof to verify this. She said she’s only received one royalty check since Pun’s death which was for $15,000 from Foundation Records. When she questioned Sony Records about financial statements they said she has no rights to such info and that only Fat Joe could sign such rights of estate over to her. She also denied talking to Joe about opening a salon and said she has worked for the past ten years. She also said that if Sony puts out Pun albums that she will receive no royalty money and that she makes t-shirts and documentaries of Pun to support herself. Liza went on to say Joe refuses to talk to her about financial matters, too. She added that she has created a Big Pun Foundation to help her community and said she “doesn’t want any handouts.” Finally Liza said she has no problems with Joe and her kids weren’t brainwashed, they just “know what’s good.”
Combat Jack (a prominent Hip-Hop entertainment lawyer) says it’s no wonder that Liza is broke. Jack says Pun’s final album was unprofitable citing that after Pun’s passing Joe took “some un-released masters featuring performances of Pun fights with Relativty and Sony on [Terror Squad] and Pun’s behalf to honor the remainder of Pun’s renegotiated agreement to release a third album and pay Pun’s estate whatever advances monies Pun would have received had he still been alive. Sony trying to maximize on sales, as well as Relativity agree and pony up $160k to Liza Rios for Pun’s third and last album Endangered Species, released on April 3, 2001. Endangered Species as we all know, tanks and sells brick. Joe, TS, Relativity and Sony make no money, Liza Rios is eating steak with that arroz con pollo. Ten years later she pops up crying broke.” [Click Here For Full Article]
Does Liza deserve more money or is Joey Cracks right? Let me know what you think.