A witness involved in the California State Bar’s investigation into the husband of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star, Erika Jayne, Tom Girardi, has been ordered to testify about the disgraced lawyer.
A judge handed down a decision after lawyers representing the State Bar filed a petition against the witness, who refused to appear for a deposition despite being served with a subpoena. The deposition was scheduled for Friday, per a Radar Online report.
Tom was forced into Chapter 7 bankruptcy in December 2020 by multiple creditors who claimed that the attorney owed them tens of millions. The lawyer was accused of embezzlement and fraud and Erika was dragged into multiple lawsuits for the return of the money Tom’s firm spent to support her company, EJ Global. The reality star denied all allegations of wrongdoing and claimed that she had no knowledge of her ex’s alleged crimes.
The witness tied to the State Bar’s court case is one of Tom’s former clients, a woman named Sonja Oehler. In 2016, after she was terminated from her job as an administrative assistant for the California State Bar, Oehler hired Tom to build a case against the agency for the alleged falsification of disciplinary cases. She claimed that the State Bar could not depose her, according to the terms of their settlement agreement. The State Bar disagreed.
Oehler reportedly had to sit and answer questions about Tom on Friday.
The State Bar of California conducted an audit on the corrupt lawyer and released their findings, via an open letter, on November 3. The governing agency received over 200 complaints against the attorney for numerous infractions over the course of 40 years, including client trust account violations, misrepresentations to courts and clients, failure to communicate with clients, and failure to perform.
“Over the past 40 years, the State Bar opened 205 disciplinary matters about Girardi,” Chairperson Ruben Duran wrote on behalf of the State Bar’s Board of Trustees. “Of the 205 matters, approximately 120 involved allegations relating to client trust account violations.”
“Of these 205 disciplinary matters, the State Bar received 69 complaints on or after December 18, 2020, when a petition was filed to force Girardi’s law firm into bankruptcy. Nearly 60 of those recent complaints alleged client trust account violations,” the letter continued.
The State Bar admitted that they failed to investigate the complaints and follow up with disciplinary procedures. Tom’s disbarment “brought to light serious failures in the State Bar’s attorney discipline system” which “have contributed to a lack of confidence in the State Bar’s ability to carry out our core responsibility of protecting the public.”
The willful negligence of the State Bar of California empowered Tom Girardi to repeatedly violate ethical standards and harm his clients.
“There is no excuse being offered here,” the letter continued. “Girardi caused irreparable harm to hundreds of his clients, and the State Bar could have done more to protect the public.”
The agency also promised to “never allow something like this to happen again.”
Olivia Davis is a Staff Writer at All About The Tea. Olivia’s hobbies include binging Netflix series, and watching Housewives on Bravo. She graduated from San Francisco State University with a degree in History.