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Kevin O'Leary Reacts to a Mother and Daughter Fighting Over a $20,000 Debt

Gustavo Caballero | CNBC

Artists and managers butt heads all the time. But when the relationship is also parental, disagreements can quickly get personal.

On the latest episode of "Money Court," Edith Marsalis and her daughter Roni are at odds over $20,000 that Edith spent over the past decade supporting her daughter's budding music career. Edith — whom Roni fired from her role as manager in 2021 — wants back the money she sent her daughter to support her when she was younger, but Roni says that money was a gift.

With their once-close relationship coming apart over the alleged debt, the mother and daughter turn to "Money Court" judge and O'Shares ETFs chairman Kevin O'Leary to find a solution.

The case

Roni is a rap and R&B artist who performs all over the country. Her mother Edith served as her manager from 2017 until 2021, when Roni fired her for what she says was a failure to do her job.

"She was not properly supervising any of my professional endeavors," Roni tells O'Leary. "I was booking my own performances and gigs. I was managing myself."

Following the termination, Edith demanded that her daughter pay back the $20,000 she spent on her in 2014 and 2015 when she helped her move to New York City, including bank transfers and hotel stays. Roni, however, says that at the time, she didn't view the money as a loan.

"I always viewed it as her helping me because she wanted to see me win and I'm her daughter," she says.

Edith also wants her daughter to respect the clause in the contract which says that following termination, the artist must give the manager 10% of their earnings for the next year. But when O'Leary asked how much money she believes she is entitled to, Edith says she does not know how much her daughter makes.

"Edith, any manager would know how many shows [their client performed], what the revenue was, what their 20% fee was," O'Leary tells her. "I mean, you have a contract between the years 2017 and 2021."

O'Leary's verdict

While deliberating the case, O'Leary empathized with Edith's generosity as a mother while getting her daughter's career off the ground, but says that once she began a professional relationship with her daughter, it seems like she didn't hold up her end of the bargain.

"Edith, you are a fantastic mother," O'Leary says. "But I'd also say to you that you are one really bad manager. I really believe that."

Because the money that Edith wants to recoup was given to her daughter before they had a written contract, O'Leary says there is nothing he can do for her.

"Your daughter doesn't owe you anything. The money you lent her in 2014 was you being a fantastic mother," he says. "This contract, this dispute, this money shouldn't be in the middle of your relationship."

Don't miss new CNBC series Money Court featuring Kevin O'Leary Wednesdays at 10P ET.

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