The Ill Niño Legal Battle Continues with New Allegations of Domestic Violence and Substance Abuse

  • Axl Rosenberg

We have an update on the Ill Niño lawsuit.

To review: in January, a version of the band consisting of longtime members Dave Chavarri (drums), Lazaro Pina (bass), and Daniel Couto (percussion) claimed that their bandmates, frontman Cristian Machado and guitarists Ahrue Luster and Diego Verduzco, were out the group, to be replaced by new singer Marcos Leal (Shattered Sun) and new guitarists Jess Dehoyos (Sons of Texas) and Sal Dominguez (ex-Upon a Burning Body). They even released a single with this new line-up.

But then, just a day later, Machado, Luster, and Verduzco claimed they hadn’t left the group, and announced their intentions to engage in a legal battle over the Ill Niño name. MetalSucks got ahold of the lawsuit in March, which included a deluge of accusations against Chavarri, who has also been managing the band for many years. These allegations were generally surrounded around various financial misdeeds, like supposedly failing to pay both members of the band and “several third parties.”

Now The PRP has gotten ahold of Chavarri and company’s answer to that complaint, as well as a new federal lawsuit filed by Chavarri over the band’s trademark. And needless to say, they deny all of the accusations, and level several new ones of their own. These include:

  • Denying that Chavarri owes money to at least one of the aforementioned third parties, providing receipts as evidence.
  • Accusing Machado of being a “drug addict and physical abuser” who assaulted his then-fiancée and the eventual mother of his child in 2005 and again just last year. As proof they offer a a restraining order the woman filed against Machado this past December.
  • Accusing Machado and Luster of both missing child support payments, which led to both the revocation of Luster’s passport and therefore his inability to perform at international shows, and Machado “effectively hold[ing] the band hostage prior to shows, requesting advances for his child support payments before playing.”
  • Accusing Machado of using illegally obtaining and using prescription drugs and weed.
  • Accusing Machado of interfering in already-finalized agreements with promoters, resulting in a loss of shows.
  • Claiming that the band failed to Chavarri pay tens of thousands of dollars in management commissions.
  • Blaming a lousy merch guy for lost merch income, offering e-mails from Machado to Chavarri complaining about said lousy merch guy’s inability to properly keep count of stock as proof.
  • Claiming that the Ill Niño trademark rights were never properly assigned to the band’s LLC.

Chavarri is seeking for the complaint against him and his management company, CIA Management, be dropped, and asking the Machado, Luster, and Verduzco pay his legal fees. He’s also looking to be declared the sole owner of the band’s trademark once for all, as well damages for the “unjust enrichment” attained by Machado, Luster, and Verduzco by using the band’s trademarks. He has requested a jury trial to take place in the state of Texas.For that judgment he has requested a jury trial be held in the state of Texas.

You can read The PRP’s report in its entirety here.

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