When Season 11 of Bravo’s The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills premiers Wednesday, longtime B-story wife Erika Jayne may finally enjoy a starring role on the show. Sadly, that’s due to the headline-grabbing fall of her estranged husband, disgraced former L.A. mega-lawyer Tom Girardi, 81, who’s accused of stealing millions from clients to fund the couple’s celebrity lifestyle.
With attorneys investigating whether Jayne, 49, played a part in the grift and the network promoting new episodes with teaser clips focusing on her moneyed antics, the Los Angeles Times spoke to some former Girardi clients and their lawyers, and they’re aghast at the prospect of Jayne flaunting her wealth when they were scammed out of large sums of money.
Bias Ramadhan, whose family a federal judge ruled had been cheated out of a $1.2 million settlement by Girardi after their mother died in a 2018 plane crash in Indonesia, told the paper, “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.”
Girardi has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and was placed under conservatorship in February after his brother told a bankruptcy court he is incompetent. Bankruptcy trustees claim he owes creditors and clients more than $56 million, and have accused Jayne of helping him conceal assets.
William F. Savino, an attorney for a lending company owed millions, told the Times, “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.’ If I am a victim, I am going to want her chased to the ends of the Earth and pushed off.”
Attorney Jay Edelson partnered with Girardi on the Indonesian plane crash suit against Boeing, and said in an interview that he couldn’t figure out why the lawyer wasn’t giving the settlement money to their clients until he read that Jayne had filed for divorce in November.
“I went, ‘Oh, no, he’s got real money problems. Maybe he has stolen from clients,’” Edelson recalls. “I viewed their relationship as totally transactional… She would be around if he still had tons of money.”
According to Brian Moylan, the ghost writer of Jayne’s 2018 memoir, Pretty Mess—who estimates “a housewife of Erika’s caliber” could pull down $300,000 to $500,000 a season—it’s possible that she is totally oblivious.
“I don’t believe she knew any of what was going on,” he said, but he also told the Times that if Jayne does know anything, it will likely come out on TV: “The producers of the shows tend to hold the women’s feet to the fire and really make them address these things, whether or not they want to.”
Asked to comment, a rep for Jayne told the paper, “She is not available.”
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