As reported—the legal scandal surrounding the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star and her husband will be explored in a new ABC News Originals documentary, called “The Housewife and the Hustler.” Legal experts and individuals accusing Tom of embezzlement were featured in the teaser for the special. “Real Housewives” personalities also speak out on the legal drama swirling around the ex-couple, which exploded after Erika filed for divorce from the once famed lawyer, in November 2020. The special launched on Hulu, on Monday.
One of the cases handled by Tom’s firm, Girardi and Keese, involved Joe Ruigomez, who was badly burned and scarred in a San Bruno gas pipeline explosion. Kim Archie, a friend of the Ruigomez family and legal consultant at Girardi Keese, speaks out in the special.
“[Tom’s mother Kathy] and I would joke, like, ‘Who are we going to call? We can’t all the D.A., that’s Tom’s friends. We can’t go to the Chief of Police, that’s Tom’s friend,” she explained. “You can’t go to the California Attorney General, that’s Tom’s friend. You can’t go the California bar, that’s Tom friends.’”
The documentary follows Tom’s legal career, which came under fire in December 2020, one month after Erika, 49, filed for divorce. The couple was subsequently accused of embezzling funds designated for victims of families killed in the 2018 Lion Air Flight 610 crash.
“While Erika publicly filed for divorce this month, on information and belief, that ‘divorce’ 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 and his law firm GK,” Edelson PC, a class action firm, alleged in court docs. The lawyers claimed that the spouses “are on the verge of financial collapse and locked in a downward spiral of mounting debts and dwindling funds.”
The case is ongoing.
Tom was hit by another suit filed by his partner, Robert Keese, along with common business partners, Jill O’Callahan and Robert Finnerty, who alleged that Tom had not paid them approximately $315k in income. They also accused him of taking out loans against their property without their knowledge, for his own personal gain.
Tom, 82, was later diagnosed with late-onset Alzheimer’s and dementia, and the court allowed his younger brother, Robert Girardi, to take control of the lawyer’s finances as a temporary conservator. Tom reportedly told a judge earlier this month that he did not agree with the court’s decision.
The documentary reveals voicemail messages, court records, and unseen footage of Tom’s deposition tape, according to NBC news.
The currently airing season of the Bravo series, which premiered last month, teased that the scandal would be addressed as Season 11 unfolds. The documentary premiered the same week as Bravo sets to air footage of Erika speaking about her split from the disgraced lawyer. Tom and Erika were married for over two decades.
The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills airs on Wednesdays at 8 pm, ET, on Bravo.