Piolin Fires Back. Files Suit Against Former Friends
Eddie "Piolin" Sotelo has 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. 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 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.
Piolin attorney Jeffrey Spitz, of the Los Angeles law firm Lerman Pointer & Spitz LLP, called the extortion scheme "one of the more brazen, shameless, and despicable examples of a shake down that I have ever seen. It was clear from the outset that the defendants' demands crossed the line into potential criminality."
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.