If diamonds are a woman’s best friend, then Erika “Jayne” Girardi just lost a $750,000 pair of boyfriends.
A federal judge in Los Angeles ruled this week that the “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” star must give up expensive, massive diamond earrings her estranged husband Tom Girardi bought her years ago.
The earrings were purchased in 2007 for $750,000 from a settlement Tom Girardi made with a pharmaceutical company on behalf of patients allegedly injured by a diabetes drug. US bankruptcy judge Barry Russell called the use of funds a “crime” at a hearing on Tuesday, saying the earrings should be sold and the money likely funneled to cheated former customers.
“It was embezzlement and fraud from day one,” Russell said at the hearing, later adding, “The fact is she still has stolen property, which is it went straight from the account to buy the diamond earrings , and it’s stolen property.”
Erika Girardi’s attorney, Evan Borges, had argued that too much time had passed since the purchase to allow for a seizure of the earrings and that more information was needed to determine whether it was wrong for her husband to issue a check from settlement account to use in a downtown LA jeweler.
“Erika once again faces consequences for the past actions of Tom Girardi and Girardi Keese. Erika has done nothing wrong,” Borges told the Times.
“Where are the complaints against him and his helpers? I wish the liquidators would focus on the actual helpers and supporters of Tom Girardi and Girardi Keese and stop beating up his ex-wife,” Borges added. “Legally, the judge’s decision raises an important question as to whether the law allows repeating transactions from 15 years ago to take a gift away from an innocent spouse. But that has to be decided by a higher court.”
Erika Girardi has previously turned over the earrings to a trustee who is overseeing the bankruptcy proceedings and they are being held in a locker pending appraisal. Borges wrote in court papers that his client was held responsible for years of misconduct at a law firm in which she was not a part, and that the earrings were “obtained innocently 15 years ago by her now estranged and then extraordinarily wealthy husband. ”
Russell noted at the hearing that he had no evidence that Erika knew the earrings were purchased with stolen money.
The earrings are the latest in the wake of the collapse of Tom Girardi’s legal practice and the dissolution of his relationship with the reality TV star. . In November 2020, Erika filed for divorce after 21 years of marriage to Tom, who was singled out earlier this year and who has been diagnosed with dementia.
The law firm Girardi Keese was forced into bankruptcy in late 2020, and since then hundreds of former clients, vendors, fellow attorneys and litigators have come forward, demanding a total payment of more than $400 million.
https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/tv/story/2022-06-30/erika-girardi-loses-diamond-earrings-tom-girardi-divorce Erika Girardi loses $750,000 earrings in Tom Girardi divorce