Nov 21, 2023 - News

Rapper Tekashi69's Miami legal dramas pile up

Screenshots show a man in a black balaclava counting stacks of dollar bills from a cardboard box marked "Fume."

Screenshots show Tekashi69 handling money from a box marked with the Fume logo. Photo: Court records

Rainbow-haired rapper Tekashi69 — aka 6ix9ine, aka Daniel Hernandez — is embroiled in fresh legal drama in South Florida.

What's happening: He's at the center of a lawsuit between rival companies that sell electronic vaping devices.

  • He also failed to show up for a separate civil trial, resulting in a $9.8 million judgment against him, according to court filings.

Why it matters: Both lawsuits were filed in circuit court in Miami-Dade County.

Catch up quick: Hernandez is a controversial figure, who was labeled a "snitch" by fellow performers and faced death threats after testifying against gang members in 2020.

  • A contract filed in court shows that Hernandez agreed to endorse products made by the Dummy Vapes affiliates in exchange for three diamond chains and a commission of 50 to 75 cents for each vape sold.
  • In September, the makers of Dummy Vapes sued affiliates of rival brand Fume, alleging the latter had interfered with their business by courting Hernandez with a separate $1 million contract and paying his girlfriend, singer Yailin La Más Viral (aka Jorgina Lulú Guillermo Díaz), $250,000 to endorse her own Fume product.

What they're saying: Fume also paid rapper Kodak Black $1 million to collaborate with Hernandez and Yailin on the song "Shaka Laka," Alejandro Brito, the attorney for the companies behind Dummy Vapes, tells Axios.

  • "In the video are Yailin and Takashi, and they are smoking a Fume vape," he says.
  • Hernandez, who is not a defendant in the vape companies' legal battle over his services, "is playing both sides," Brito says.
  • The lawsuit says confusion in the marketplace prompted Hernandez to post a video to social media saying, "Dummy Vapes is my brand… My girlfriend, Yailin, is signed to Fume. I do business with her, through them, but I am not signed to Fume, I am with Dummy Vapes."

Yes, but: A Fume affiliate countersued, arguing Hernandez had been only been hired by its side to promote non-vape products like energy drinks and apparel, and vapes only after his existing contract to promote Dummy Vapes ends.

  • The countersuit alleges that Hernandez agreed to promote Dummy Vapes only because the brand's representatives lied and claimed to be associated with Fume.
  • Attorney Joshua Kon, who represents the Fume affiliate, tells Axios that Dummy wasn't yet established and "needed to use the goodwill and reputation of Fume and the trademark and brands in order to convince [Hernandez] to work with them."
  • The Fume affiliate suffered from resulting confusion in the marketplace and seeks profits that were earned by Dummy. "They [Dummy] claimed to have sold millions of units — over 3 million units," Kon says.

The intrigue: Adam Yormack, an attorney who represents Hernandez, says there was "reasonable confusion." The rival vape companies worked together in the past, and Hernandez was introduced to them through the same parties.

  • The Dummy Vapes team once paid the rapper in stacks of cash presented to him in a cardboard box with the Fume logo on it, Yormack says — an incident that was caught on video.
  • "[The Dummy affiliates] could have put it in literally anything on God's green earth — anything — but [they] chose to couch the payment as if it were a Fume payment," Yormack says. "It was a misunderstanding and a clear misrepresentation of what was going on and how the relationship worked on the backend."

Separately, Hernandez was sued in 2021 by a dancer named Alexis Salaberrios, who alleged that he threw a bottle of champagne that hit her in the head during an appearance at Miami's Gold Rush strip club.

  • Court records show that Hernandez failed to appear at trial this past July, and in his absence, a jury awarded Salaberrios $9.8 million, which she has been trying to collect.
  • In court records, she alleges that Hernandez hid assets such as a Rolls Royce and a home in Lake Worth via shell companies and his mother and brother.
  • Salaberrios is seeking to garnish Hernandez's income from the vape companies and his entertainment ventures.
  • Yormack says his firm was only recently retained by the rapper and aims to "protect him now going forward and resolve anything that happened in the past as best we can."

Of note: American Express is also suing the rapper for $118,387 in allegedly unpaid credit card bills, court documents show.


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