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CHARLES IN CHARGE
OF ESTEFAN SUIT

Koppelman Claims They Reneged
On Royalty Bond Deal
Gloria and Emilio Estefan are probably more focused on signing young Elian Gonzalez to a record deal than business because Charles Koppelman's CAK Universal Credit Corp. has filed suit against them, alleging that they unexpectedly backed out of a proposed royalty bond deal and that they have refused to pay costs incurred by the New York-based firm during the negotiations.

The parties began talks in 1998 to set up a royalty loan of $50 million, based on information provided by the Estefans, according to the suit, which was filed March 10 in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. As the deal progressed, the suit says, CAK discovered that some of this information was "highly inaccurate." The suit says the defendants claimed an annual average of $6.8 million in music rights-related income, but Koppelman's attorneys found the actual number to be closer to $3.8 million. Although the plaintiffs were "quite disturbed about the discrepancy," the suit adds, they decided to "salvage the deal" by offering a $32 million-$35 million loan.

CAK claims that expenses continued to mount as the deal was restructured but that the Estefans "pressed plaintiffs to move forward."

However, the suit says, once CAK was prepared to close the deal, the defendants "did a sudden turnabout and pulled out of the transaction," refusing to pay any costs.

CAK seeks damages of roughly $2.18 million, plus interest, and the rights to change the "Conga" to a "Hora."

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