A federal lawsuit accuses L.A. attorney Thomas Girardi, husband of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star and pop singer Erika Jayne, of embezzling settlement money paid out by Boeing and intended for the families of the victims of a 2018 plane crash. Instead, the suit claims, Girardi used the money to maintain “a public image of obscene wealth at all times” for himself and the “How Many Fucks?” songstress.
The suit was filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Chicago by Illinois firm Edelson PC, which helped Girardi represent the relatives of the 189 people who died on October 29, 2018, when a Lion Air Boeing 737 Max crashed off the coast of Indonesia less than 13 minutes after takeoff, killing all aboard.
Authorities determined that the Lion Air crash was caused by the 737’s faulty anti-stall system, which forced the plane’s nose down 20 times—a defect discovered only after the same problem brought down another 737 in Ethiopia shortly after, killing another 157 people and forcing Boeing to ground the fleet.
According to the complaint, Girardi “has resorted to embezzling the proceeds of settlements that should have been directed to his clients—including… the widows and orphans who lost loved ones in the tragic crash of Lion Air Flight 610—in order to continue funding his and Erika’s lavish Beverly Hills lifestyles.”
Funds were allegedly transferred from Boeing to Girardi’s law firm, Girardi Keese, for the purpose of dispersing to the victims. But, the new suit alleges, Girardi has since “kept it for his own purposes and doled it out to his friends and family… By all accounts, Girardi keeps engaging in fraud and deception in order to support a never-ending spending spree by himself and Jayne.”
Girardi, best known for his part representing individuals poisoned by Pacific Gas & Electric in the tort case made famous by the movie Erin Brockovich, is further accused of refusing to turn over the money despite months of demands.
Jayne’s behavior is also subject to scrutiny in the filing, which states, “Erika reportedly spends $40,000 per month on her ‘look.’ Erika even performs a song called ‘Exxpen$ive,’ featuring the hook ‘it’s expensive to be me.’”
Girardi, 81, and Jayne, 49, were married in 2000 but filed for divorce last year in a move that Edelson attorneys contend is “simply a sham attempt to fraudulently protect Tom’s and Erika’s money from those that seek to collect on debts owed by Tom.”
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