Erika Girardi Accused of Using Her 'Notoriety' to Hide Assets, Owing $25 Million to Ex's Law Firm
Erika Girardi's legal woes continue on.
In the latest update to the bankruptcy case facing Girardi Keese — her estranged husband Tom Girardi's law firm — the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star has been accused of hiding asset transfers and owing the firm $25 million.
Tom, 82, and Girardi Keese were previously accused of embezzling funds from several families who lost loved ones in a 2018 Boeing plane crash, and he was later sued by his business partners, resulting in a chapter 7 bankruptcy petition in December — one month after Erika, 50, filed for divorce.
In a new document filed Wednesday and obtained by PEOPLE, the attorney for the bankruptcy trustee, Ronald Richards, claims that Erika and two of her businesses, EJ Global, LLC and Pretty Mess, Inc., received jewelry and other luxury items purchased using funds belonging to Girardi Keese.
It also says Erika received lottery payments that belong to the Girardi Keese estate in addition to the "luxury items," adding up to a total of $25 million.
In response to the lawsuit, a source close to Erika tells PEOPLE: "No merit, no investigation, no proof, just more harassment."A lawyer for Erika did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.The new document further claims that "the defendants" (Erika and her businesses) and "the debtor" (Girardi Keese) "conspired to conceal" the funds to keep the money away from the creditors in the bankruptcy case, which include Tom's former business partners as well as some of his former clients.
"Erika has used her glamor and notoriety to continue to aid and abet in sham transactions that have occurred with respect to large transfers of assets from the Debtor," it says, adding that Erika has "refused to return" the lottery payments and luxury items, instead receiving or diverting them for her "own benefit."
"As a result of the wrongful acts of the Defendants alleged herein, the Defendants have been unjustly enriched at the expense of the Estate and its creditors. The Defendants have derived and continue to derive benefit from their wrongful acts," the document continues.
Richards also asks for a judgement ordering that Erika and her businesses pay the amount owed to Girardi Keese. "The Defendants are under an obligation to pay the Plaintiff and the Estate all amounts by which the Defendants have been unjustly enriched in an amount according to proof," the document says.
Jerritt Clark/Getty; Steve Eichner/Sipa Erika and Tom Girardi
In a statement to PEOPLE, Richards says there were "large jewelry purchases" made by the law firm and that Erika made "repeated appearances on network television displaying the bling with pride as to the cost and value."
"We look forward to working cooperatively with the defendant's new counsel on finding the answers and searching for the truth," he says, noting that Erika has recently changed her legal representation. "The complaint makes a prima facie case for its claims and we hope to come to a fair and just conclusion, based upon the facts that come and the evidence received from the defendant when she decided to provide it."
Erika's legal team previously requested that the court reconsider its decision to appoint Richards as the special counsel to the trustee in the bankruptcy case, accusing him of making "false and inflammatory" statements about her on social media.
The motion, filed last month, claimed that Richards has engaged in "vicious, conclusory, and speculative public vilification — all without evidence, which even if it existed, should and must be presented to and adjudicated by this Court."
In a statement shared with PEOPLE at the time, Richards called the motion a "Hollywood attempt to create a smoke screen to slow down our work" and said his social media posts were protected by free speech.
"Had there been any restrictions by the Court on free speech, they would have been adhered to, as all court orders are by our office," his statement said, adding that the court previously rejected a gag order request from Erika's team and said during a recent hearing that he "has a right to express his views."
That week, the petitioning creditors in the bankruptcy case filed three separate motions that accused Erika of refusing to turn over bank statements and other documents to the bankruptcy trustee, according to copies of the motions obtained by PEOPLE.
The court ultimately ruled in favor of the creditors, ordering that Erika's accountant Michael Ullman, divorce lawyer Larry Ginsburg and landlord Benjamin Khakshour turn over various "key documents," including her pay stubs, bank statements and any emails and text messages pertaining to her finances.