A fresh investigation has been launched into whether disbarred Los Angeles lawyer Tom Girardi escaped discipline for cheating clients by offering investigators private plane rides, wine-soaked lunches and Las Vegas parties while siphoning off millions from clients.
Girardi made legal headlines in December 2020, when a federal judge froze his assets, saying he had 'misappropriated at least $2 million' meant for the families of those killed in the Lion Air Flight 610 crash in Indonesia in order to bankroll his glitzy Hollywood lifestyle.
The allegations were made a month before his estranged wife, Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Erika Jayne, filed to divorce him — which many took as a ploy to preserve whatever remaining assets the former multi-millionaires had.
Girardi - who once had a fortune valued at $264 million - has been the subject of more than 100 lawsuits and multiple complaints made to the California State Bar brought by disgruntled clients who have accused him of theft, according to an investigation by the New York Times.
As part of the of the investigation, it was revealed that he offered officials private plane rides, wine-soaked lunches, Las Vegas parties and free legal representation at a time when he was accused of siphoning client settlement money and other unethical behavior, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Girardi, who was disbarred in August 2021, has not practiced law since December 2020. Earlier that same year, he was diagnosed with Dementia and late onset Alzheimer's — both characterized as 'major neurocognitive disorders.'
Girardi is currently under investigation amid accusations he 'misappropriated at least $2 million' meant for the families of those killed in the Lion Air Flight 610 crash in Indonesia. On Monday, the California State Bar launched a fresh investigation into whether the disgraced legal titan offered wine-soaked lunches and other perks to investigators to turn a blind eye to wrongdoing. Pictured: Girardi and estranged wife Erika Jayne pictured in 2016 above
Girardi, who regularly appeared on the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills alongside now-estranged wife Erika Jayne, was disbarred in August 2021 and has not practiced law since December 2020. Earlier that same year, he was diagnosed with Dementia and late onset Alzheimer's — both characterized as 'major neurocognitive disorders'
On Monday, the State Bar of California announced an additional investigation into Girardi, which is being handled by an outside law firm, that will attempt 'to identify actions by anyone with ties to the State Bar that may constitute malfeasance in how discipline complaints against Girardi were handled.'
In September, the State Bar retained the law firm of Halpern May Ybarra Gelberg to conduct the investigation.
'The State Bar board leadership and staff take very seriously the immense harm done by Thomas Girardi to innocent victims,' Ruben Duran, chair of the State Bar's board of trustees, said in the statement, adding that details of the investigation must remain confidential to comply with the law and to give this investigation the greatest chance of success. 'Mark our words: we will go wherever the evidence leads us.'
The decision to disclose the investigation comes at a time when Sacramento lawmakers are