After getting bucked amid what they called a case of blackmail, a Chicago area promoter of traditional Mexican rodeos is accusing a promoter of Spanish-language concerts and the owners of an area Spanish-language radio station of conspiring to prevent a popular Mexican musician from performing at a rodeo in Bridgeview late last month.
Mexico Promotions Inc. filed suit Oct. 8 in the Cook County Circuit Court against a group of defendants associated with Chicago-based concert promoter Viva Entertainment Network; Spanish Broadcasting System Inc., the owner of about 20 radio stations, including La Ley 107.9 FM, which broadcasts throughout the area from Aurora; Florida-based Angelmex Productions; and Los Angeles-based Spanish-language record label, Twiins Music Group.
Other named defendants named in the suit include Radio Ideas and Liberman Broadcasting, both of California; Ivan Fernandez, identified in the complaint as president of Viva Entertainment; and Eduardo Leon, who is identified as program director for La Ley.
Mexico Promotions’ complaint, which seeks more than $3 million in damages, centers on its attempt to book the very popular and controversial Mexican narco-corrido -drug ballad-- recording artist, Alfredo Rios, who performs sunder the moniker El Komander, to play a rodeo it was staging at Toyota Park in suburban Bridgeview on Sept. 24.
According to the complaint, Mexico Promotions sought to add El Komander to its show to “encourage ticket sales and attendance” at the stadium, which it estimated could hold up to 30,000 spectators. The company hoped to draw about 6,000 to 7,000 spectators to earn about $500,000.
Mexico Promotions said it obtained permission from both Angelmex and Twiins Music for El Komander to perform at the rodeo, and paid a $40,000 deposit to cement the deal in August. Mexico Promotions said it immediately altered its advertising to include El Komander.
The next day, however, Mexico Promotions alleges Fernandez and others at Viva Entertainment, acting out of competition, moved to prevent El Komander from performing at the rodeo. To further their goals, the suit states representatives of Viva enlisted the aid of Leon at La Ley.
Mexico Promotions claims Leon threatened “he would prevent El Komander’s music from being played on radio stations that he had control over along with other artists represented by Twiins Music Group” if he performed at the rodeo.
The suit further alleges Leon and Viva sought to create a scheduling conflict, by demanding El Komander perform at a La Ley event on Oct. 12. However, Mexico Promotions noted at the time of the filing of its complaint, El Komander did not appear to be booked to perform in the region at any time in October or November.
In its suit, Mexico Promotions says these allegations were confirmed by representatives of Twiins and in later telephone conversations with Leon.
The president of Twiins Music Group, the suit states, “indicated that absent the blackmail being threatened by Eduardo Leon, his company and El Komander would perform at the rodeo/concert."
El Komander ultimately pulled out of Mexico Promotions’ event, causing the event to lose money, Mexico Promotions asserts in its suit.
In the 10-count complaint against the various defendants, Mexico Promotions alleges tortious interference against the people and entities associated with Viva and La Ley, and breach of contract against Angelmex and Twiins.
Mexico Promotions seeks at least $3.5 million in damages from Viva, La Ley and Angelmex and $500,000 more from Twiins.
It is being represented in the action by attorney Jon D. Cohen of the firm of Stahl Cowen Crowley Addis LLC in Chicago.