Photo: Eddie "Piolin" Sotelo
Spanish-language radio star Eddie “Piolin” Sotelo today filed a civil extortion lawsuit against six former Univision employees and their Los Angeles attorneys for attempting to shake him down for nearly $5 million by threatening to go public with false and misleading allegations of sexual harassment and workplace humiliation.
According to the lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court in Santa Monica, the Defendants made their demands of Piolin last week on the telephone and in writing. The demands followed press reports that another former employee had made similar wild claims as well as the announcement that Piolin and SiriusXM had agreed to launch a new channel of Spanish-language programming soon.
The lawsuit details how the Defendants offered to “seal their lips” and take their own copycat allegations “to their graves” if Piolin paid the group $4.9 million. Their attorneys made this demand although they acknowledged to Piolin’s counsel that three of their clients were time-barred from making legitimate legal claims because the statute of limitations for such matters had expired.
According to Piolin, the other three Defendants also are barred because they had previously signed agreements waiving any and all legal claims against Piolin or his former employer, Univision, a fact which their attorneys certainly knew or should have known. Without any hope of resolving the claims legitimately, their demands amounted to civil extortion—a “naked money grab” through the unlawful use of fear, the lawsuit says.
“Piolin is appalled by the conduct of his former colleagues and personal friends,” the lawsuit says.
Piolin’s lawsuit names as Defendants six former friends and colleagues from the Univision “Piolin Por La Manana” morning show. They are former employees Domingo Rodrigo Ochoa; Tomas Alejandro Fernandez; Samuel “Cusuco” Heredia; Sergio “Checo” Vera; Gerardo “Chiquirruco” Palencia, and Bertha “Betushca” Velasco. The complaint also names as Defendants attorneys John C. Taylor and Robert R. Clayton and their firm, Taylor & Ring, LLP. The same law firm represents the former employee who lodged the initial accusations in a demand letter to Univision Radio.
Piolin feels he has given many of the Defendants their break in radio and he was repaid with a plot to destroy him financially and professionally.