Two boxers and a trainer are suing a boxing promoter, alleging he lured all three men to the U.S. from the Philippines under the pretense of helping their careers, but used them for domestic work at his home and in his marijuana business instead.
Fighters Recky Dulay, 26, Rey Perez, 29, and trainer Cenon Tagalog Jr., 48, brought the complaint Wednesday in Los Angeles Superior Court against Reynaldo Rodis Jr. and his company, Rodis Entertainment Digitial Inc., which he owned in addition to the marijuana business, Broccoli House.
The suit alleges human trafficking, fraud, negligent misrepresentation and various state Labor Code violations. The trio seek unspecified compensatory and punitive damages. Rodis could not be immediately reached for comment.
The three plaintiffs dreamed of “making it big in the world of professional boxing” and were induced by Rodis to leave their homes in the Philippines for Los Angeles, the suit states.
“They did not know they would be used as free labor,” the suit states. “The plaintiffs felt like they were prisoners and wanted to leave.”
They were forced to toil long hours as domestic servants and work at Broccoli House, where they did re-packing and distributing, the suit states. Rodis threatened to report them to immigration authorities if they tried to leave and threatened to harm their relatives in the Philippines, the suit states.
Rodis forced Tagalog to build a recording studio inside his marijuana business and Tagalog’s only compensation was a daily food allowance of $10, according to the suit.
Rodis is the former manager of Dulay and Perez, the suit states.
Tagalog escaped from Rodis in 2018 by telling him he would return from a trip to the Philippines, the suit states. He did not come back despite Rodis’s alleged threats against his family, according to the suit.
Perez and Dulay escaped in 2019, the suit states. Perez was helped by a good Samaritan and Dulay by one of his former trainers, the suit states.
>> Want to read more stories like this? Get our Free Daily Newsletters Here!Follow us: