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Eddie 'Piolin' Sotelo alleges extortion, sues former workers

August 27, 2013
  • Eddie "Piolin" Sotelo, working at Spanish-language KSCA-FM (101.9) in Glendale.
Eddie "Piolin" Sotelo, working at Spanish-language… (Karen Tapia?Andersen…)

Spanish-language radio star Eduardo "Piolin" Sotelo, formerly based in Glendale, has filed a lawsuit against six former staff members who worked on his canceled Univision Radio program, claiming the group banded together to try to extort $4.9 million from him.

Sotelo claims to be a victim of a shake-down by former employees who allegedly demanded a big payday in exchange for taking their Univision workplace secrets "to the grave," the Los Angeles Times reported

The suit seeks general damages and punitive damages “in an amount sufficient to punish defendants and to deter them from engaging in similar conduct in the future,” and legal costs.

An attorney representing the six former colleagues released a statement Monday afternoon saying the group will be filing their own lawsuit against Sotelo. He rejected Sotelo's lawsuit as lacking merit.

“This lawsuit is a public relations ploy by Eddie Sotelo to deflect attention from the merits of the allegations of Sotelo’s harrassing and abusive conduct towards six of his former co-workers," said John C. Taylor. "The lawsuits speak for themselves and will be filed soon."

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Before joining Sotelo's crew, the suit claims, most of the group held low-level jobs outside of radio -- working as a fast-food server, a bakery delivery man, a warehouse employee, a medical waste hauler and a copywriter. But after going to work on Sotelo's popular radio show, the employees were well compensated and able to rub elbows with the likes of President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama and entertainerJennifer Lopez, who were guests on the show.

"This case arises from the defendants' ingratitude, unmitigated greed and desire to extract from [Sotelo] some perceived revenge and an undeserved monetary windfall," the lawsuit said.

The lawsuit is the latest messy twist in the saga of Sotelo, an immigrant from Mexico who crossed into the U.S. at the age of 16 and worked menial jobs in Santa Ana before landing in radio and eventually rising to national prominence.  Sotelo, who became a U.S. citizen in 2008, used his top-rated "Piolin por la Manana" Univision Radio program as a platform to galvanize huge crowds to participate in immigration reform marches.

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