NEWYou can now listen to Fox News articles!
Erika Jayne has handed over diamond earrings allegedly worth $750,000, which she says were gifted to her by her estranged husband, Tom Girardi, Fox News Digital can confirm.
“Obviously Erika Girardi complied with the Court order because the docket is devoid of any motion to enforce the order,” a source familiar with the case told Fox News Digital. “Once a court signs an order, neither party may disobey it. Otherwise, they would be in violation of the Court’s order. It is not common that parties verify compliance with court orders. It is presumed, absent some notification that there was a violation.”
According to court documents obtained by Fox News Digital, the former “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” star’s preliminary motion – which was in response to a trustee tasked with collecting on Girardi’s debts, allowing a third party to harbor the precious jewels while the alleged fraud investigation into Girardi is carried out – was agreed upon by a judge. The ruling made the stipulation official in court records.
Jayne’s lawyer, Evan Borges, stated in a motion filed on Jan. 26 that in order to maintain the “status quo” and as a token of “good faith,” Jayne “will agree and has agreed to hold and not transfer or sell the earrings” and “will provide the earrings to a third-party escrow to be held in trust pending the trustee finishing her investigation.”
On behalf of the actress and “XXPEN$IVE” singer, Jayne’s counsel filed a joint stipulation with the bankruptcy court to continue the matter from its current hearing date on Feb. 15, 2022, to May 17, 2022, “to allow for discovery” and a valuation to be made on the pricey jewelry.
“During the time the Trustee is in possession and control of the Earrings, the Trustee may obtain appraisals as to the value of the Earrings, and will make the Earrings available for appraisal within seven days of any written request made by Ms. Girardi through counsel. Except when obtaining or allowing appraisals, the Trustee will store the Earrings in a safe-deposit box with a national banking institution such as East West Bank, Bank of America or Wells Fargo Bank,” Borges requested in the filing.
He also requested the court to “allow Ms. Girardi (and the Trustee) to conduct discovery related to the Earrings Motion, the hearing on the Earrings Motion shall be continued for three months to May 17, 2022, if that date works with the Court’s calendar, or to some other date thereafter as ordered by the Court,” presumably the requested “Continued Hearing Date.”
Jayne’s attorney told Fox News Digital in a statement that she “innocently” received the earrings from her ex and is being roped into the investigation for his alleged crimes.
“I am disturbed by everyone jumping to conclusions about Erika, who is innocent, and trying to blame her for the actions of others,” the statement from Borges says.
“If the law matters, the trustee’s motion is completely out of bounds. Even based on the incomplete hearsay evidence filed with the motion, the trustee has no claim based on Erika innocently receiving a gift of earrings 15 years ago from her now-estranged and then-extraordinarily wealthy husband.”
The trustee claimed in separate court documents that Girardi bought the lavish jewelry in 2007 using funds skimmed from a trust account represented by his firm, Girardi Keese (GK), according to TMZ.
The documents further allege the purchase was simply justified as “cost” on the account. Jayne filed for divorce from Girardi in November 2020. She and the lawyer had been married over 20 years.
Meanwhile, Ronald Richards, a former special counsel for the Girardi Keese bankruptcy case and who currently acts as an administrative creditor to the estate, told Fox News Digital that he has had a long-standing interest in “making sure [the trustee] collects something” from Jayne. Richards has already filed a $25 million lawsuit against Jayne for funds she allegedly collected from Girardi Keese, which Richards claims are directly linked to the fraud allegations Girardi is currently under investigation for.
“I started covering Girardi’s frauds like I’ve done for other attorneys before I got involved personally with the case,” Richards explained. “Then our firm was hired by some attorneys that he stole settlement money from and then I was involved as the special counsel to pursue Erika.”
Richards claims the case against Jayne and Girardi endured a “change in litigation strategy” when she was hit with a lawsuit in Chicago which ended up being dismissed.
Richards sustains at the present moment in the case, Jayne allegedly “hasn’t made any effort to try to return any of the money that was given to her from the law firm [Girardi Keese] over the past 12 years.”
“She thinks it’s more beneficial to try and come up with legal defenses like too much time has passed – the statute of limitations defense,” Richards maintained to Fox News Digital. “She’s just trying to basically say, ‘OK, well, even though E.J. Global wasn’t a real business, and even though $25 million worth of expenses of the company were paid for from the law firm [Girardi Keese], which carried a receivable for me, which I claim I have a community property interest in the law firm – these earrings – which are probably worth $1.5 million today – too much time is passed, and even if he took the money from client settlements and properly inflated, the expenses and the clients got less, that too much time has passed.”
As far as Richards is concerned, Jayne will never be able to assume ownership of the earrings again and anticipates that the precious wearables will likely be used as part of a settlement down the line.
“No, I don’t,” he said when asked if she will receive them back after the investigation concludes. “Because there’s also a claim by the Thomas Girardi individual trustee. And she’ll have to deal with that claim. The only reason why [Borges] agreed to give the earrings to the trustee is that he was concerned about losing the motion and also, he didn’t want to provide a declaration from his client under oath.”
Jayne has since been dismissed from the lawsuit into alleged fraud by Girardi, who was accused of embezzling $2 million from plane crash victims in December and the couple’s assets were subsequently frozen. One month prior, Jayne had filed for divorce.
Girardi, 82, and Jayne have been accused of divorcing to protect their money and assets.
Fox News Digital’s Melissa Roberto contributed to this report.