Telenovela Star Lorena Tassinari Loses Court Fight for Mission Tortilla Founder's Billions

When Lorena Tassinari walked into a Dallas courtroom to claim a share of Mexico's largest tortilla fortune, she had all the charm and fame of a former telenovela star on her side.She still walked out with nothing. Tassinari says she married the late tortilla king, Roberto Gonzalez Barrera, aboard his luxury yacht and shared his final three years. But the Texas judge, like predecessors in Mexico, ruled in favor of Gonzalez's wife of half a century, Graciela Moreno Hernandez.The legal saga isn't quite over: Tassinari has appealed the latest verdict. Still, after five years and multiple lawsuits on both sides of the border, it's the matriarch who has emerged victorious at every point. She has control of Gruma SAB de CV, the world's largest tortilla maker -- and a net worth of $2.6 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Gruma's U.S. subsidiary, Mission Foods, has its corporate base in Irving. The company opened its Dallas tortilla manufacturing plant in 1982. Tassinari, a singer and actress in early 1990s Mexican soap operas Muchachitas and Balada por un Amor, said she married Gonzalez in the Caribbean in the summer of 2009. After his death at the age of 81 from pancreatic cancer in August 2012, she claimed she was entitled, as his surviving spouse, to a piece of the fortune he left his family.  Continue reading...

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