Urbano artist Nio Garcia has filed suit against his management company for “derailing” his career, according to court documents filed in U.S. District Court in Miami on Thursday (Sept. 8).
In the 14-page complaint, filed by attorney Edwin Prado-Galarza, Garcia alleges that AH Entertainment’s current president Ilianes Ruiz is attempting to sabotage his career after illegally taking ownership of the company following the death of her son, AH founder and Garcia’s frequent collaborator Flow La Movie. He’s asking for damages of no less than $3 million and for a court order allowing him to release his own music, citing breach of contract by Ruiz.
According to Garcia, Ruiz — now acting as AH Entertainment — has tried to stall his career by “arbitrarily” failing to release his new album and associated music videos, all of which he claims Flow previously approved for a 2022 release; “maliciously” disparaged him via her own and AH Entertainment’s social media accounts; and failed to provide royalty accountings required under his contract. He also alleges she thwarted his performance at the Premios Lo Nuestro awards show, causing him “to lose a golden opportunity to promote new music and further his brand,” and even delayed a “multi-million-dollar sale” of the company’s catalog, leading to a “substantial loss of income” for Garcia, fellow artist Casper Mágico and Garcia’s distributors The Orchard and Get Low Records (d.b.a. Glad Empire).
Flow La Movie (born José Ángel Hernández), who has also worked with top Latin stars including Bad Bunny and Ozuna, produced a number of Garcia’s hits, including “Te Boté,” which peaked at No. 36 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 2018. Following his death in a plane crash that also claimed the lives of eight others, including his wife and 4-year-old son, Garcia alleges that Ruiz “unlawfully” took control of the company after filing an annual report with the Florida Division of Corporations that listed her as AH Entertainment’s president and resident agent. He claims she had no authority to do so, as the matter of who controls Flow’s estate — which automatically became AH’s sole shareholder under Florida law, according to the complaint — is currently pending in Florida’s Polk County Circuit Court.
Pertaining to the estate, the complaint cites a “dubious” document filed by Ruiz on June 24, 2022, that she presented as Flow’s last will and testament and which names Ruiz as sole heir. Garcia questions the validity of the document due to the fact that, during the July 2016 date listed on the document, Flow was “penniless and had no assets to bequeath to his heirs” and already had two underage children who are not listed, among other issues. According to the suit, Flow’s only surviving daughter, Keigelyan Hernandez-Pena, intends to challenge the validity of the will furnished by Ruiz.
“If Keigelyan succeeds, an outcome that appears likely based on information and belief, Flow will be deemed to have died intestate and Keigelyan will be named his sole heir and, accordingly, AH’s sole shareholder,” the complaint reads. “Ilianes will, therefore, have no valid claim over Flow’s estate and, accordingly, no legal authority to act on AH’s behalf.”
Elsewhere in the complaint, Garcia characterizes Ruiz as lacking the knowledge to run a music company and is using it merely as a vehicle to damage his career in what amounts to a personal vendetta.
In a pair of tweets Friday that seemingly allude to the lawsuit, Garcia said cryptically, “I’m crazy to release new music but they scammed me with falsehoods and lies. You’ll know what I’m talking about soon.”
Billboard sent a message to an email address listed on AH Entertainment’s Facebook page but did not immediately hear back.
Garcia rose to fame with the 2017 single “Te Boté” alongside Darrell and Casper Mágico. The track, released via Flow La Movie Records, gained even more traction when Nicky Jam, Ozuna and Bad Bunny jumped on a remix in 2018, allowing him to score his first entry on the Hot 100. Since, the 33-year-old Puerto Rican choreographer-turned-rapper has released other major hit songs including “La Jeepeta” and “AM” via Flow’s label, which was launched in 2016 to support up-and-coming talent such as Nio and Mágico.