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Patron Tequila and Former Executive Settle Unpaid Bonus Lawsuit

Ajendra Singh had sued Patron Spirits International Inc. and company co-founder John Paul DeJoria, a Echo Park resident.

Patch file photo.
Patch file photo.

Attorneys for Patron Tequila and a former company manager told a judge Thursday that they settled the executive's lawsuit that alleged he was owed more than $70 million in unpaid bonuses before he was fired.

Ajendra Singh sued Patron Spirits International Inc. and company co- founder John Paul DeJoria, maintaining he was largely responsible for the success of the company's factory in Atontonilco, Mexico.

The settlement announcement came as the parties were still in trial in Los Angeles Superior Court, where testimony began in late March.

Judge Alan Rosenfield dismissed the jury in the wake of the settlement. The terms of the accord were not divulged.

The 70-year-old, Echo Park-born-DeJoria also is the co-founder of the Paul Mitchell line of hair products. The billionaire's daughter, drag car racer Alexis DeJoria, is married to television personality Jesse James, who was previously wed to Oscar-winning actress Sandra Bullock.

Singh filed his breach-of-contract suit against Patron Spirits and DeJoria in September 2009. He alleged that after the death of Patron's co- founder Martin Crowley in 2003, DeJoria promised Singh that if he stayed at the company and oversaw the construction and operation of the company's new tequila factory in Mexico, he would be receive an equity bonus based on the increased value of the company -- an amount his attorneys said had a current value of more than $70 million.

Singh helped build Patron from a small company with almost no production capacity to the industry leader, manufacturing and selling two million cases annually and becoming a multibillion-dollar business, according to his lawsuit.

Singh was fired in 2008, allegedly because of allegations of sexual harassment and abusive conduct toward subordinates.

—City News Service

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