Erika Jayne Appearing On Real Risky Housewives, Bankrupt Lawyer Says
For six seasons, since her debut in “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” in 2015, Erika Girardi (stage name: Erika Jayne) has skated along the surface of the Bravo show. She promoted her singing career and showed off her seemingly fabulous life in Pasadena, Calif., With her famous lawyer husband, Tom Girardi, who is 33 years her senior (and now estranged from). She boasts of spending $ 40,000 a month on her glam and has surrounded herself with several minions on her payroll who lead (and choreograph) her every move. Before the COVID-19 pandemic shut down Broadway, she had turned her fame into a turn on Broadway as Roxie Hart in “Chicago.” (To clarify more, Variety will refer to the Girardi by their first names.)
Because Erika has used “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” for years just to promote her brand – which is a good job if you can get it – and hasn’t fallen in the mud like some of her fellow cast members, she has been accused of being both boring and reserved.
But when the new season of “Beverly Hills” kicks off Wednesday, Erika’s years of deviation will almost certainly be over. As the Season 11 trailer is crystal clear, one of his main scenarios will be Erika’s catastrophic legal problems after involuntary bankruptcy cases were filed against Tom and his law firm, Girardi Keese, in December 2020, after several lawsuits revealed that he allegedly stole millions of dollars from his clients.
Bravo began filming the series’ 11th season in early October, before Erika’s surprise election day announcement that she would divorce Tom. Trailer creates suspense about how Tom’s downfall – and possibly Erika’s downfall – will play out in the series in five separate instances in three minutes. “I didn’t see it end that way,” Erika tells her cast mates. “I was going to hold this man’s hand until he died.” At another point, Garcelle Beauvais asks Erika if she has been warned of the upcoming lawsuits, and asks if that is why she got divorced. A sunglasses Erika pauses for almost two seconds before responding, “No, I didn’t.” Towards the end of the trailer, at a dinner party, Erika tells Sutton Strake, “I’m not a liar. You’ve got a lot of nerve,” spelling out every word. “Don’t talk to me like that, seriously,” Stracke replies, sounding hurt. “Or what. Or what, Erika spits. “Or nothing,” Stracke said. “Alright, exactly, shut the Shit stand up, ”Erika says, as the other women scowl and cover their faces. (A rep for Erika did not respond to a request for comment.)
Variety spoke with Zev Shechtman, a bankrupt attorney at Los Angeles law firm Danning Gill, to explain what’s going on with the Girardi family.
What is Tom accused of and by whom?
For decades, 81-year-old Tom Girardi has been an important figure in the Los Angeles legal scene and was one of the attorneys behind the massive lawsuit against Pacific Gas & Electric that inspired Julia Roberts’ film. “Erin Brockovich”.
He was, as Shechtman put it, “well regarded as an attorney general and very successful,” and his downtown Los Angeles firm, Girardi Keese, was both famous and well capitalized. Girardi was a personal injury attorney who, according to the Los Angeles Times, which has investigated him extensively in recent months, received up to 40% of payments from its customers. Erika met Tom when she was 28 and he was 60 while working as a waitress at the bar at Chasen’s, the once-legendary Beverly Hills restaurant. they married in 2000.
Girardi’s alleged crimes first exploded in the audience early December. In a lawsuit, Chicago law firm Edelson PC sued Tom and Erika Girardi, along with others, and claimed that Tom had robbed “the widows and orphans who lost loved ones in the tragic accident of Lion Air flight 610 – in order to continue to fund her lavish lifestyle in Beverly Hills and that of Erika. The lawsuit also said the Girardis’ divorce was “simply a mock attempt to fraudulently protect Tom and Erika’s money from those seeking to collect debts owed by Tom and his law firm.” (Erika’s rep did not respond to a request for comment, and Variety attempted to call and email Tom Girardi, and did not receive an immediate response.)
Edelson PC had worked with Girardi Keese on a lawsuit representing the relatives of people who died in a plane crash in 2018 off the coast of Indonesia that killed all 189 people on board. The lawyers prevailed against Boeing in the lawsuit and had won an undisclosed amount – but it was never distributed to the victims, nor to Edelson PC. (Or, as “Beverly Hills” cast member Dorit Kemsley says in the trailer, “Orphans and Widows – It Makes You Sick. We know the answer, but him. ”)
Tom, however, according to the Los Angeles Times, was diagnosed with Late-onset Alzheimer’s, and is now under trusteeship.
Tom Girardi is now in “involuntary bankruptcy”
There are several lawsuits against Tom and Erika and against Girardi Keese, and it all fell apart quickly. Shechtman said all of the circumstances surrounding the allegations were “unusual,” which led to the involuntary bankruptcy petition: “He did not file for bankruptcy. it was declared against him.”
Tom’s many creditors asked the courts on Dec. 18 to file for bankruptcy so they could start trying to get money back from him and his estate – and exceptionally, it happened quickly.
“There is a pretty high bar for filing for involuntary bankruptcy,” Shechtman said. “Apparently there was no real competition here. When you don’t have a good defense, and when you have bigger issues besides civil bankruptcy issues, I can understand why a debtor wouldn’t put up a defense.
Was Tom Girardi running a Ponzi scheme?
According to reports, some of Tom’s clients would sometimes get a portion of what he owed them, and it appears the money could have come from other clients in other cases – “some kind of theft from Peter to pay Paul, “as Shechtman said. . “A traditional Ponzi scheme is when a seller or a suspected business owner, the Ponzi strategist, takes money from new investors to pay old investors – this is the basic concept.
“I think that’s a fair characterization in terms of the kind of general concept here of what seems to have happened,” Shechtman said. “Although not exactly the same in terms of definition.”
How is Erika affected by Tom’s bankruptcy?
Since they’ve been married since 2000, probably most of Erika’s money before “Beverly Hills” comes from him. And it appears that Tom’s company gave Erika’s company, EJ Global, a lot of money: Edelson PC’s lawsuit indicates that “the company of the accused Jayne, the accused EJ Global, allegedly received Tens of millions in “loans” directly from the defendant GK, of which Tom is the sole shareholder. “
Shechtman said of these so-called loans: “The trustees in these cases can have claims against her for every dollar she received from Mr. Girardi or Girardi Keese. “
But that’s not all, according to Shechtman: “If she has an asset that was bought with the debtor’s money – with his money – it is probably common good. He probably belongs to the bankruptcy estate. It already belongs to the domain.
“They should be liquidated to pay the creditors. The only way for her to have assets that are not the property of the bankruptcy estate is to have separate assets. And even if she had separate assets, the scale of the judgments against her for receiving so much from Girardi Keese or Tom Girardi could result in a judgment that would mean she would have to hand over all the separate assets she owns.
And according to a The story of the Los Angeles Times this week, the trustees in the bankruptcy case are focusing on Erika as “a key figure in the sprawling legal battles over what remains of her fortune”.
So, is there any risk that Erika will continue to appear on “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills”?
“It’s not wise,” Shechtman said. “Anything she does that flaunts her wealth, which is conspicuously all she does, will be evidence against her. Every asset, every property that she owns, is going to be a target. Everything she does will come under scrutiny. And this is not a review in the tabloid sense, it is a review in the sense of responsibility.
He continued, “If she is ever under oath, she will have a lot of evidence against her to account for. So you don’t want your client to make public statements.
“And her whole life is a public statement.”