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Billionaire tortilla man's family wrapped up in probate dispute

The billionaire chairperson and founder of giant tortilla-making corporation passed away in August 2012, after a long struggle with pancreatic cancer, at 81 years of age. The man's company, Gruma Corp., owns the brand names Mission, Guerrero, Maseca and more and before his death, he controlled a fortune of approximately $4 billion.

As for the man's family, they have been embroiled in a probate dispute that has already endured for three years. They are fighting over the man's numerous possessions like a 16-passenger private luxury jet, a 169-foot yacht, a mansion, millions of dollars' worth of cash held in different bank accounts and -- most importantly -- the largest tortilla making company on earth.

Tortilla titan Roberto Gonzalez Barrera, relocated the United States headquarters of Gruma Corporation to from California to Texas in 1998 in order to centralize the company in the United States and be in closer proximity to Gruma's international headquarters in Monterrey, Mexico.

Nicknamed, the "King of Tortillas," there is a lot debate over whether Gonzalez lived in Mexico or the United States at the time of his death, and this is a vital question in his family's probate battle over his businesses and belongings. There is also the question of whether or not the man was marred to the Mexican composer, singer and actress Lorena Tassinari. The woman is currently trying to inherit part of his estate.

Barrera's first wife, to whom he was married for 58 years until divorcing her in 2008 but who later challenged the divorce and successfully nullified it in 2012, claims that Barrera's second marriage was illegitimate. Allegedly, Barrera and the actress wed in a private ceremony performed by the captain of his yacht at sea in 2009. Furthermore, even though Barrera challenged the nullification of his divorce in 2012, he died before he could complete the litigation relating to the issue.

There are certainly a lot of questions raised by this trans-national probate dispute and it will be interesting to see how this tortilla tycoon's legal proceedings are finally wrapped up.

Source: Dallas Business Journal, "Billionaire tortilla titan’s death leaves heirs battling over his empire," Bill Hethcock, Aug. 05, 2015

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