The trustee handling the bankruptcy case of Tom Girardi’s law firm requested that Erika Jayne pay back $25 million plus interest that she allegedly used to fund her “extravagant lifestyle.”
Erika Jayne owes $25 million to her estranged husband’s law firm, according to a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles on Aug. 26 and obtained by E! News.
The trustee behind the Girardi Keese bankruptcy case sued the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star, 50, for more than $25.5 million plus interest, after Erika allegedly paid for her “extravagant lifestyle” using firm funds.
“The glam cannot be supported by a sham,” trustee Elissa Miller states in the first amended complaint.
Erika, along with her EJ Global and Pretty Mess companies, allegedly received jewelry and other luxury items that were purchased using funds from Tom Girardi’s Girardi Keese company.
“Erika has taken the ludicrous position that since she did not receive the payments directly from the [firm] she is not liable,” the suit states.
It continues, “She attempts to create a distinction between handing her money directly versus paying all of her bills directly. The distinction, like her prior motion for reconsideration is meritless. Any payments made for her benefit are her responsibility.”
Per the lawsuit, $14 million was charged on her American Express card and another $11 million was paid to shopping vendors.
None are “legitimate” law firm payments, the suit claims, but were for the “sole benefit” Erika’s “massive spending” on her glam squad, travel, clothes, purses, shoes, jewelry and other “lavish expenses.”
Even though Erika contends “she did not know her husband was maintaining a debt,” the trustee feels “it would be a miscarriage of justice” if the reality star was allowed to “simply walk completely free” while owing more than $25 million to the estate, according to the filing.
“Erika signed all of her tax returns, numerous credit card slips, and was well aware of the money she spent on the Debtor’s credit cards and the Debtor’s payment of her personal expenses,” Miller argues. “Her feigned willful blindness and ostrich approach to these expenditures will do absolutely nothing to limit her liability.”
The trustee is hoping the lawsuit will “provide a come to Jesus moment” for Erika, according to a statement from her attorney Ron Richards to E! News.
“We are hopeful that Ms. Girardi comes down the mountain from a place of privilege and obscene wealth and returns some of these expenses so the former clients and creditors of this law firm can mitigate the horrific and unfair losses perpetrated by her husband and others,” he said in part, adding that “some effort to do the right thing would go a long way in backing up her public claim that the victims should come first.”
Meanwhile, Erika’s attorney Evan Borges asserts that “no one was deceived” and “nothing improper was done,” he said in a statement to E! News.
“The fact that the trustee continues to try to assert claims based on transactions going back 12 years, which are barred by statutes of limitations, is an example of the overreaching and willingness to say and do anything to hurt Erika, despite the law,” he said. “Erika will defend the case, and we will seek sanctions and all appropriate remedies for the claims brought in bad faith and without any legal merit.”
Borges added that the trustee and her legal team are “jumping to conclusions without a full investigation,” as well as “bullying and blaming Erika for actions taken by Girardi Keese for which Erika does not have legal liability.”
In June, a trustee in the case filed a motion in court to attempt to “uncover the whereabouts of potential assets of the estate,” alleging Erika was loaned $20 million from Tom’s firm.
The couple, who split in 2020 after 21 years together, were also sued in December. Tom, 82, was accused of embezzling money from an airplane crash settlement fund in order to pay for their “lavish Beverly Hills lifestyles.” The filing also claimed their divorce was “simply a sham attempt to fraudulently protect Tom and Erika’s money from those that seek to collect on debts owed by Tom and his law firm.”
Tom was officially disbarred by a California judge on Aug. 20, documents filed under the Central District of California and obtained by E! News showed.
According to reports, a hearing in the embezzlement case is set for mid-September. Reps for both Erika and Tom didn’t return E! News’ request for comment at the time of the December lawsuit, and have not commented publicly on it.