Erika Girardi Named in $50 Million Lawsuit Accusing Her of Being 'Frontwoman' in Ex Tom's 'Scheme'

Erika Girardi Named in $50 Million Lawsuit Accusing Her of Being 'Frontwoman' in Ex Tom's 'Scheme'

Erika Girardi is facing another legal battle amid the ongoing issues surrounding her estranged husband, Tom Girardi.

In court documents obtained by PEOPLE, the 50-year-old Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star is being sued alongside her company, EJ Global LLC, the Girardi & Keese law firm and its lenders. The new lawsuit, which was filed by the Edelson PC law firm, seeks an amount of no less than $55 million in damages.

Edelson PC accuses the defendants of the following: racketeering, conspiracy to commit racketeering, receipt of stolen property, aiding and abetting concealment of stolen property, money had and received, conversion, unlawful business practice, consumers legal remedies act and deceit.

"As the layers have been pulled back more and more each day with the pending bankruptcies of Girardi Keese and Tom, and the torrent of claims and investigations that came in the wake of the firm's collapse, the real story is one that seems like a tale out of a John Grisham novel: Girardi Keese was little more than a criminal enterprise, disguised as a law firm," the lawsuit documents claim.

"Indeed, the Girardi Keese firm operated what we now know was the largest criminal racketeering enterprise in the history of plaintiffs' law," the documents state. "All told, it stole more than $100 million dollars from the firm's clients, co-counsel, vendors, and many others unfortunate enough to do business with the firm."

Edelson PC claims that "every bit" of the firm's "outward-facing success was built atop a house of cards," alleging that Girardi & Keese "was siphoning off millions to fund Tom's and Erika's all-consuming need to spend — funding a lifestyle so lavish that Erika was a cast member of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills."

"The couple certainly played up the part of flaunting their wealth and the fact that Tom was a powerful attorney who wooed celebrities, judges, and politicians alike," the documents claim. "But that money was not earned by the firm or by Tom, but was stolen: from co-counsel, from vendors with long overdue bills, and — by far the most unforgiveable for an attorney — from the firm's own injured clients.

 

Edelson PC also referred to the situation as a "scheme," claiming that Erika "acted as the 'frontwoman' of the operation, selling to the world (including unsuspecting clients) that Girardi Keese was successful." They also allege Erika "displayed a nationwide showroom of the money they stole on Real Housewives."

"To this day, Erika uses her significant public platform to lie about her own involvement, and to try to assist Tom and the others in getting away with it," the documents claim, later alleging that the TV personality "made the cynical decision to leverage the scandal to further her career and stay relevant in the tabloids, meaning more exposure and a larger paycheck for her next season of performing on Housewives."

Edelson PC entered a demand for a jury trial, meaning they're requesting to have the case heard and decided on by citizens.

In a statement issued to PEOPLE, Edelson PC Founder and CEO Jay Edelson said "it is going to take some time to fully untangle the decades-long fraud committed by Tom's enterprise."

"We are, however, confident that we can prove that the law firm was operating as a criminal enterprise," Edelson continued. "We understand that many of the people we have identified, including Erika and Tom's partners, have focused on a campaign of lies, misinformation, and victim blaming. While those tactics can work fine on a RHOBH reunion show, it is a disaster in a court of law."

PEOPLE has reached out to Erika's attorney as well as Girardi & Keese for comment. Tom's lawyer declined to comment.

Erika, 50, filed for divorce from Tom, 82, in November 2020 after more than two decades of marriage. Shortly after submitting her filing, the pair found themselves entangled in an abundance of legal woes, including a bankruptcy lawsuit.

Tom was diagnosed with dementia and Alzheimer's disease, which has resulted in him being placed under a conservatorship run by his younger brother. He is currently residing in a "skilled nursing facility" that provides 24/7 care.