Erika Jayne is asking for more time to prepare her case amid an effort to dodge an order that would force her to pay back the millions that her estranged ex, Thomas Girardi, funneled into her companies. The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star and her attorney have notified the court that they need an additional two weeks to prepare her defense, according to court documents.
Erika is a named defendant in a federal lawsuit that alleges her involvement in an embezzlement scheme, which allowed Tom to allegedly pilfer millions owed to family members of plane crash victims. Erika filed for divorce in November, one month ahead of Tom being forced into a Chapter 7 bankruptcy by multiple creditors. The disbarred lawyer has been slammed by accusations alleging that he operated his law firm, Girardi Keese, like a Ponzi scheme for over ten years. Tom and Erika have been accused of staging their split in order to hide assets.
Erika has not only denied the lawsuit’s claims but has actively worked to get the lawyer hired by the bankruptcy case’s trustee tossed off the case. The “XXpen$ive” singer has repeatedly accused Ronald Richards of ongoing social media harassment and alleges a conflict of interest due to his involvement with a former client. The judge presiding over the case previously shot down her motion and even called her motives into question.
“It appears to be nothing more than a blatant attempt by Ms. Girardi to impede Mr. Richards’ efforts on behalf of the trustee to investigate allegedly fraudulent transfers of the debtor’s assets to Ms. Girardi and to prosecute an action against her to recover those transfers for the benefit of the estate,” the August court order read.
Erika must respond to the order by October 7.
The lawsuit alleges that Tom’s law firm, Girardi Keese, covered all costs for Erika’s entertainment company, EJ Global, for twelve years. The filings list several of Erika‘s alleged expenses during the marriage, including $14 million in American Express charges. Funds were used to pay Erika’s “glam squad” and professional dancers, and to purchase clothes, bags, shoes, and jewelry.
The trustee overseeing the case cited a “fraudulent transfer” of assets in the legal documents. Erika has refused to return any assets.
Erika pushed for Richards’ removal earlier this month and alleged that many mistakes were made by the bankruptcy judge assigned to the case.
She reiterated that Richards had maligned her on social media and in interviews, and complained about the attorney filming segments for the Hulu documentary, “The Housewife and the Hustler.” Producers ultimately decided not to use footage containing Richards’ comments, but Erika believes that the judge should have frowned upon the attorney’s failure to disclose his participation in the project. Erika also took issue with the judge not taking into account Richards “publicly threatening with investigation individuals who appeared supportive of Ms. Girardi ad may be potential witnesses.”
Richards labeled Erika’s legal maneuver “a soundbite more than a legal argument.”
“Erika should stop wasting money on this side issue and focus on returning the money for her expenses that were improperly deducted and paid on her behalf and settle her pending litigation,” he commented.
The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills airs on Wednesdays at 8 pm, ET, on Bravo.