LOS ANGELES — A new lawsuit accuses "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" star Erika Jayne of "aiding and abetting" with the alleged financial wrongdoings of estranged husband Tom Girardi.
The $2.1 million lawsuit filed Thursday, claims that Jayne, 50, knew about an alleged "scheme," in which Girardi, 82, withheld a cash settlement from his law partner and their client Kathleen Bajgrowicz, the mother of the late NFL player Chuck Osborne.
Girardi and Manuel Miller represented Bajgrowicz in a lawsuit against the NFL involving Osborne's 2012 death. The lawsuit filed Thursday alleges that Girardi did not disburse the agreed-upon attorney's fees and settlement money to Miller and Bajgrowicz.
The suit says that Jayne "knew about the scheme" that funded her "notoriously lavish lifestyle chronicled on 'The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.'" It also alleges that she "aided and abetted Girardi's breach of fiduciary duty and has direct liability for participating in and facilitating the conduct."
The complaint accuses Jayne and her company of "financial elder abuse" and seeks to hold them liable for the "damages caused by their tortuous conduct."
Jayne's attorney Evan Borges denied the allegations.
"The complaint is another misguided effort to blame Erika for the conduct of others in which she had no part," Borges said in a statement to NBC News. "Erika has no law degree and never worked at or managed her former husband’s law firm. Whatever Mr. Girardi or others at his law firm did or said to the plaintiffs in this case, Erika had no knowledge or role in any of it."
The "focus should be on Mr. Girardi, his law firm and anyone else who enabled what he did," Borges said.
"Piling on Erika may generate publicity, but it’s without any basis in law or fact," he continued.
Girardi, who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and is in a court-ordered conservatorship, has been accused of misappropriating clients' settlement funds. His brother, who is his legal guardian, has said that Girardi “will never practice law again” and was not contesting charges by the California State Bar that he misappropriated settlement funds.
Earlier this year, Jayne was dismissed from a separate lawsuit that alleged that Girardi embezzled $2 million from the families of vcitimis of the 2018 Lion Air crash in Indonesia. The lawsuit alleged that Girardi kept the funds to "support a never-ending spending spree by himself and Jayne." An attorney for the plaintiffs in that case has said that he would refile that suit in California” to “avoid fights over jurisdiction.”
Girardi was disbarred by a California judge in August 2021.