Matt Hamilton and Harriet Ryan, the Los Angeles Times reporters behind the article that took center stage during Season 11 of the “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills,” are sounding off about the recently concluded season and asking more questions about the reality star and her estranged ex, Tom Girardi. The duo sat for a Q&A with the L.A. Times and weighed in on the couple’s marriage, the legal firestorm surrounding the disgraced lawyer and the reality star, and the questions that still remain.
“My main takeaway was the portrait of the somewhat bleak inner life of the Girardi marriage’s last years: the power imbalance, his multiple affairs, the financial control that Tom allegedly wielded, the attempts by Erika to get Tom help, the ring of people that surrounded Tom and limited Erika’s access,” Matt said during the Q&A session.
Matt noted that the Bravo series did not clarify key details behind the split, and did not chronicle how Erika transitioned into her new life.
“When did she hire her lawyer? How does she pay her assistant? How and when did she hire a moving truck? When did she put her rent down on her new residence? The logistics are intense, especially considering she was also filming. And Bravo’s cameras caught none of this? Really?” the reporter asked.
Harriet shared that she remains confused about the timing of the breakup and why Erika chose to stay with someone who was supposedly verbally abusive and unfaithful.
“She files for divorce and says Girardi was unfaithful and verbally abusive to her for years and she stayed only because her substantial RHOBH checks were sent to the Girardi Keese office. Couldn’t she have just called Bravo HR and changed the address?” she asked.
The L.A. Times article shocked the RHOBH cast, and a few of the ladies raised an eyebrow at Erika’s decision to exit a cast trip just ahead of the release of the bombshell story.
“I don’t have a heads up on an L.A. Times article … Nobody calls me to say, ‘Hey, by the way, this piece is coming out on you,’” Erika claimed.
Matt disputed Erika’s claim, revealing that they had reached out to Erika’s attorney and publicist for comment.
“We sought comment on the lawsuit that accused the Girardi’s of a sham divorce. Two days before our story was published in mid-December… we sent questions to her representatives. We did not specify when the story would go live online, but gave a sharp deadline of the day prior,” he revealed.
Harriet shaded Erika’s allegation that the article was a “hit piece,” opining that the “XXPEN$IVE” singer likely never read the article or didn’t comprehend the meaning of the term. Erika was called out for “inconsistencies” in her stories throughout the season, but Matt believes that they would be more accurately described as a “withholding” of information.
“The car wreck is something that Girardi loyalists have been pushing out there since last year as an explanation of his behavior,” Harriet explained. “Girardi was known as a heavy drinker and he kept a chauffeur on staff. I know Matt looked for public records for a car crash as described by Erika et al. and didn’t find anything. In any case, a recent head injury wouldn’t explain the misappropriation allegations against him dating back to the 1980s.”
Harriet shared that she would like to know more about Tom’s mental decline.
“What year did you first notice signs of dementia?” she said she would ask Erika. “Who did you talk to about it? If you claim that a doctor refused treatment because of Girardi’s legal power, please name that doctor. Do you regret not doing more to get him treatment?”
The duo also offered an update on the ongoing lawsuit against Tom and Erika.
“In the Indonesian plane crash case, two former lawyers at Girardi Keese, including Tom’s son-in-law, are the subject of a hearing next month in Chicago over whether they should be held in contempt of court for their alleged conduct in the case,” Matt explained. “That hearing could prove revealing, as it will likely shine a light on the final months of the Girardi law firm and the signs inside the business that it was unraveling.”
“The bankruptcy process is ongoing. The trustees are in the process of identifying all assets for Girardi’s estate and his law firm,” Harriet added. “They are getting all of Erika’s financial records and they will be deposing various people involved in the couple’s finances. The assets they turn up have to be liquidated and used to pay off the creditors, including clients owed settlement money and lenders.”
The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills is currently in production for Season 12.