A not so pretty mess.
Erika Jayne’s legal issues continue to grow, according to a new article from Page Six.
The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star and two former Girardi Keese employees are being sued for fraud and theft by Nicolas Cage’s ex-girlfriend Christina Fulton.
Fulton is seeking $700,000 plus in the lawsuit, which claims that Tom Girardi and his former colleagues Samantha Gold and John Kelley Courtney misappropriated settlement funds to support their lifestyles.
In January 2016, Fulton was involved in a car accident where she sustained severe injuries. Following the automobile accident, she sought out Girardi Keese for legal representation. Gold served as Fulton’s primary counsel while Courtney was a senior attorney on the case.
In March 2019, the case concluded with a confidential settlement agreement in the amount of $924,300,000.
Fast forward to July 2022 when Fulton learned via “newly discovered financial documents” what happened to her nearly $1 million in settlement funds.
Documents proved that Fulton’s settlement funds were deposited into Girardi Keese’s bank account without her consent.
“This was a complete outright forgery as [Fulton] never endorsed this check and certainly never agreed to have it deposited,” the lawsuit claims.
“This negotiated check was in fact a forgery and a lie. The check was never held in trust but spent. It is beyond shocking and the pale that the firm would conceal the arrival of the check and not obtain Ms. Fulton’s endorsement as required by law.”
According to her lawsuit, Fulton only received $190,000 of her settlement between April 2019 and September 2020.
This maneuver was part of Girardi’s grift “to dupe his clients into waiting for money by dribbling small payments.”
Fulton’s attorney also claims there is proof that the settlement funds were disbursed to Girardi Keese in three separate installments: $214,000 on April 26, 2019, $1 million on April 12, 2019, and $300,000 on April 10, 2019.
As for why Erika is named in the lawsuit, Fulton claims there is proof that her funds were allegedly “diverted to Erika” via her company, EJ Global. The funds were later transferred to Pretty Mess Inc.
Per the lawsuit, Fulton alleges that Tom and Erika used the funds “as their own assets” to “pay for their lavish lifestyle.”
“The funds were treated as community property,” court documents allege.
“Erika used the money to pay off her expenses,” the suit claims. “For at least 12 years, all of her expenses were paid by Girardi Keese as she was generating them. No one withdrew money from the firm other than Erika Girardi.”
One of the attorneys representing Fulton is none other than Erika’s arch nemesis, Ronald Richards.
Richards claims that “many people in Hollywood trusted Tom and Erika in their legal matters.”
He adds that Erika and Tom were a “public couple who preached wealth and success.”
“Erika profited off of these funds, which [were] used to provide content for the ‘Housewives’ show to which she was paid for. She directly received vendor payments from these funds and personally benefited from the misappropriation of our client’s settlement,” Richards continues.
Despite the claims, Erika’s attorney, Evan C. Borges, notes that his client is a “non-lawyer” who had “no role” in her husband’s legal career.
Borges adds that Erika simply “thought she was married to an extremely wealthy attorney with a financially successful law firm.”
And that this lawsuit is just another attempt to make Erika responsible for her estranged husband’s actions.
“It’s a distraction tactic and specious for lawyers representing former [Girardi & Keese] clients to use Erika’s lifestyle and persona on a ‘Housewives’ show as an excuse to sue her,” Borges adds. “The focus should be on Tom Girardi and, where supported by evidence, the lawyers, accountants, and financiers who enabled his misconduct and wrongdoing.”
The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills airs on Wednesdays at 8 pm on Bravo.