Ill Nino

Allegations Of Domestic Violence & Drug Abuse Surface In Ill Niño’s Ongoing Legal Battle


Newly surfaced legal documents in the ongoing Ill Niño trademark battle have shed light on even more disturbing allegations amongst the band’s warring members. To catch up, you may recall that the band’s drummer (and manager via his CIA Management company) Dave Chavarri and bassist Lazaro Pina planned to launch a new lineup of the group earlier this year without the apparent consent of frontman Cristian Machado, guitarist Ahrue Luster and guitarist Diego Verduzco—all of whom denied ever leaving the group.

Behind the scenes however, a battle for the band’s trademarks had been going on with Machado, Luster and Verduzco on one side and Chavarri on the other. Separate filings for the band’s trademarks were made by both parties. Notably that trio and Chavarri are all listed as members of the band’s LLC, Ill Niño LLC, which was formed in 2015.

In a complaint filed against Chavarri over the matter, which surfaced earlier this year, the aforementioned trio made various allegations against Chavarri, claiming he had failed to pay his part of various band-related services, including the costs of printing merch, renting tour buses and more.

The trio further alleged that Chavarri had unfairly claimed tour advances for himself and also pocketed the money paid to the band by groups who had bought on to their tours and more. An answer to that trio’s complaint against Chavarri and his aforementioned management company has now come to light and finds Chavarri denying the claims. As these things tend to go, there’s also a fair amount of dirt being slung around in the process.

In answer to the complaint filed by the trio, Chavarri‘s camp accuse vocalist Cristian Machado of being a “drug addict and physical abuser.” They claim that on July 30th, 2005 Machado physically abused his ex-fiancée, slapping her and pulling her hair while out on tour with the band during a tour of Puerto Rico.

To document their claims they presented a domestic violence related restraining order request filed by the aforementioned woman against Machado in December of 2018. It is further noted that he and the woman have a child together. The restraining order request details allegations made by the woman against Machado, revealing disturbing incidents. In one incident said to have taken place in March of 2018, Machado allegedly verbally and physically abused the woman. In  another in November of 2018, Machado is alleged to have verbally abused the woman. The police were said to be involved with both incidents.

Other allegations made against Machado include claims that he frequently illegally purchased marijuana while out on tour with the band and would consume sleeping pills and muscle relaxers without a proper prescription. Also shared is a denial of Chavarri not paying a past band crew member for their services, with a provided receipt directly denying the claim.

In response to claims of lost merchandise money, Chavarri provided email correspondence from Machado himself frequently expressing his unhappiness with a man hired to oversee the band’s merch on tour. Frequent complaints of the man’s performance and lack of exact merch counts were expressed by Machado himself in these emails. Chavarri believes these texts prove his innocence in regards to the claims brought against him from lost merchandise money with the blame falling upon the man who was hired.

For his part, Chavarri seeks that the complaint against him and his management company be dismissed without prejudice with Machado and co. handling Chavarri‘s legal fees.

Meanwhile, in a federal lawsuit filed earlier this month against Machado, Verduzco, Luster and Ill Niño LLC by Chavarri for the band’s trademarks, various other claims are presented against the trio and the LLC. In addition to a wealth of background history regarding Chavarri‘s alleged role in key decisions throughout the band’s career, there is a claim made that the trademark rights were never properly assigned to the band’s LLC.

Other unseemly claims presented against the trio are allegations of both Machado and Luster missing child support payments, with Luster said to have missed shows due to his passport being cancelled as a lack of payment. It is also alleged that Machado would effectively hold the band hostage prior to shows, requesting advances for his child support payments before playing.

It is further stated that Machado cost the band a number of live performances by directly interfering in previous standing financial agreements with promoters, etc. Furthermore, Chavarri claims the band failed to pay him tens of thousands of dollars worth of money owed to him for his management commissions. Also presented is various commentary by fans of Machado‘s alleged declining live performance quality in more recent years taken from videos of live performances online.

Chavarri for his part continues to claim to hold all rights to the Ill Niño trademark. He seeks to have dismissed a claim for the trademark which was filed on behalf of the aforementioned trio in November of 2018. He also seeks to be declared the sole owner of the band’s trademark with a permanent injunction against the trio from further use of the trademark.

Furthermore, he is seeking damages for the the trio’s alleged ‘unjust enrichment’ by using the band’s trademarks and the cost of his legal fees to be assumed by the trio. For that judgment he has requested a jury trial be held in the state of Texas.

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