As the latest season of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills premieres on Bravo tonight, family of Thomas Girardi’s alleged embezzlement victims are speaking out against his reality TV wife, Erika Jayne, 49.
Disgraced attorney Girardi, 81, is accused of being in debt to ‘hundreds of clients’ and ex-workers amid claims that his law firm owes at least $26 million in settlement money — including $6,000 that he allegedly owes to Matthew Jones, a 23-year-old with autism who won a settlement from the manufacturer of the drug Risperdal.
Matthew’s mother, Holly Jones, told the Los Angeles Times this week that she has tried fruitlessly to get the money that her son is owed, which they were counting on for repairs to their trailer home since the death of her husband.
Seeing the Real Housewives star flaunt her wealth on TV has been additionally ‘upsetting’.
‘We just barely get by,’ she said, crying. ‘I don’t think it’s right. Take that money away from her to pay the people they have stolen from, that they have hurt.’
Called out: As a new season of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills premieres on Bravo, family of Tom Girardi’s alleged embezzlement victims are speaking out against wife, Erika Jayne, 49
Charges: Disgraced attorney Girardi, 81, is accused of being in debt to ‘hundreds of clients’ and ex-workers amid claims that his law firm owes at least $26 million in settlement money
On Housewives, Erika has flaunted her luxurious lifestyle — and is paid to do so by Bravo.
Over on Instagram, even amid the embezzlement accusations, she continues to spotlight her designer wardrobes, her lucrative brand partnerships, her pool, and her presumably high-end champagne.
Jones said that the way Erika has showed off her wealth on Real Housewives is ‘very upsetting’ given that her husband’s law firm owes so much clients — while Girardi himself, who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and in a court-ordered conservatorship and under the legal guardianship of his brother, has said that he is bankrupt.
Jones and her son live in a trailer home in Lyndon, Kansas, and have been struggling financially, especially since her husband died several years ago.
When Girardi negotiated the $6,000 settlement for Jones’ son, she was planning on using it for much-needed repairs to the trailer — but the money never came.
‘I tried emails, phone calls, left messages,’ she said. ‘We haven’t been able to afford to get anything done, so what we planned to do with the money was either to fix stuff or try to put it down on a new house.’
Is that right? Two of Girardi’s alleged victims have spoken out about the extravagant displays of wealth on Real Housewives of Beverly Hills
Critisized: One whose son was awarded a settlement from a pharmaceutical company said they ‘barely get by’ and were counting on that money for their trailer home
She’s not the only alleged victim who is upset that Erika continues to retain her wealth and parades it so extravagantly.
In one lawsuit, Girardi was accused of embezzling $2 million in settlement funds intended for the families of victims who died in the 2018 Lion Air Flight 610 crash that killed 189.
Bias Ramadhan, an Indonesian man who lost his mother on the flight, says his family was awarded a $1.2 million settlement but never received it.
‘Maybe American people like to watch some stupidly rich people get famous and get more money and get more recognition from the public, but it’s not her money to begin with,’ he told the LA Times.
Jones and Ramadhan are among several people who may be watching the new season of Housewives with their eyes on Erika’s belongings.
‘If she wears a $150,000 ring, the victims are going to say, “That is my diamond.” If she is going to wear a $10,000 blazer, they are going to say, “That is my blazer,”‘ said attorney William F. Savino.
Savino works for a New York lending company that is owed more than $6 million by Girardi.
‘If I am a victim, I am going to want her chased to the ends of the Earth and pushed off.’
Woes: In a new clip from the upcoming season 11 of the series, Erika tells her costars how the pandemic led her to go on antidepressants when she wasn’t able to work
Taking notes: Attorney Ronald Richards recently said he will be ‘transcribing every word’ of Erika’s appearance in the upcoming Bravo series which premieres Wednesday
Liquidating assets: A mansion in Pasadena belonging to the former couple was listed this month for $13 million
Tone-deaf? Victims say it’s ‘very upsetting’ that Erika flaunts her wealth on TV
In fact, legal professionals are expected to to be carefully scrutinizing the new season of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, as Erika’s finances became a focal point in the embezzlement case against her estranged husband.
Two of the trustees in a lawsuit against her have hired Beverly Hills attorney Ronald Richards to investigate Erika’s finances, amid accusations that Girardi has been hiding some of his assets from creditors by transferring them to his TV star wife.
‘We will be transcribing every word. The show does not provide immunity to its talent.’ Richards tweeted about the upcoming Bravo series which premieres Wednesday.
Erika, a pop singer, married her husband in 2000 but filed for divorce in November.
Investigators have been dispatched to go through Erika’s belongings and accounts to see what money and property she has, the LA Times reports.
The 49-year-old Bravo star has reportedly filed an objection to stop the investigation and claims Richards is biased.
She also feels that hiring Richards is a conflict of interest because he’s currently representing plaintiffs in another case against her spouse.
Under the microscope: A new teaser shows footage from Erika’s Pasadena property, which she shared with Girardi. The garage housed a fleet of luxury cars, including a Lamborghini
Opulence: Shots from inside the mansion were also shown during the teaser. The property is now on the market as the former couple’s assets start to get liquidated
Lavish: One of the dining rooms is also seen in the footage, showing luxurious décor and an ornate chandelier
Classic: Inside, there is a stunning staircase, sky-high ceilings, a cozy library, dining rooms and office nooks
Cooking something up! Erika previously admitted the world-class kitchen with chic fixtures and a French stove with a blue back splash doesn’t get much use
According to her filing, Erika says that the property she possesses, except from a few ‘household items,’ are all gifts from her husband which she is entitled to keep.
Richards and another special counsel will, if approved by the judge, effectively become bounty hunters who can keep as much as 45% of what they seize from the reality star, LA Times revealed.
Girardi made headlines in December after class action firm Edelson PC filed a lawsuit claiming that his divorce from Jayne was orchestrated to ‘fraudulently protect Tom and Erika’s money’ as they’re ‘on the verge of financial collapse’ because of another lawsuit.
Girardi is also facing a lawsuit from from Robert Keese, the other named partner in his law firm, who claims Girardi owes him over $500,000.
Meanwhile, a report indicated that Girardi’s firm was also on the hook for $11 million to a San Bruno, California family as result of a suit stemming from a gas pipeline explosion in 2010.
Also impacted were more than 8,200 clients who had damages in the 2018 Woolsey fire in Southern California.
Holy moly: Decor through the rest of the house screams old-school opulence, even housing a small chapel that looked like it could have been plucked straight out of Italy
Longtime home: It’ll be a tough goodbye for the star, who is now grappling with the realities of single life following her November 2020 divorce filings
His and hers: Erika is accused of helping her estranged husband hide assets from creditors
Where’d it go? A trustee’s probe of the liquidation of the 81-year-old Colorado native’s firm Girardi Keese indicated the company owed a minimum of $26 million to ‘anywhere from dozens to hundreds of clients’ in settlements
In the dark: Jayne opened up about the ongoing legal problems in a preview for the Bravo series’ upcoming season, claiming she had no clue about any of it and only Tom has the answers
Jayne filed for divorce from Girardi on November 3, claiming that he had ‘multiple affairs’ over their 21 years of marriage.
The couple, who met in 2000 when she was waitressing at a club, famously flaunted their wealth on the reality TV show, with Jayne claiming she spent $40,000 a month on make-up and clothes.
After all of their assets were frozen in December by a judge overseeing the Lion Air case, Jayne publicly blamed Girardi for causing her to lose $80million in cash.
She also took to Instagram to accuse Girardi of having a months-long affair with Justice Tricia A. Bigelow, a former deputy attorney general for California who has presided over the Second District Court of Appeal, Division Eight since February 2010.
But in previews for RHOBH, Erika hints at not knowing about her husband’s legal problems.
‘No one knows the answer but him,’ she tells her castmates in one sneak peek, when she is asked about missing settlement funds owed to his clients.
Another clip, released on Monday, shows Erika telling her costars how the pandemic led her to go on antidepressants when she wasn’t able to work. She described being lonely and roaming around the halls of her empty mansion.
In a confessional, Erika explained, ‘There’s so much that these women don’t know, about my life and about my personal life’
Footage from the Pasadena property she shared with her lawyer spouse flashes up on screen, with various sports cars, including a Lamborghini, seen parked in the garage.
‘I couldn’t sleep and I couldn’t shake it, and I couldn’t shake it. I was feeling this incredible dread. Every day I woke up and I dreaded waking up,’ she recalled. ‘I called a psychiatrist and I went on Lexipro.’
‘That’s an antidepressant,’ Erika added when one of the women asked her what it was. ‘And it’s the greatest thing.’
In a confessional, Erika explained, ‘There’s so much that these women don’t know, about my life and about my personal life.
‘Because you know what, everyone has problems, everyone. And the bigger your life is the bigger your problems are.’