And the hits just keep on coming for Erika Jayne!
The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star was slapped with yet another lawsuit for alleged fraud and theft on Friday, this time from Nicolas Cage’s ex-girlfriend Christina Fulton. In new court documents obtained by Page Six, the 55-year-old actress claims that Erika’s estranged husband Tom Girardi and two of his colleagues, Samantha Gold and John Kelley Courtney, misappropriated her settlement funds in order to pay for their lavish lifestyles.
Christina (who dated Cage for three years starting in 1988 and shares 31-year-old son Weston Coppola with him) sought legal representation from Girardi & Keese after being in a car accident in January 2016 that resulted in her suffering from severe injuries. Three years later, the law firm secured her a confidential settlement agreement filed on March 18, 2019. They settled for $924,300. Samantha was listed as the primary counsel, while John was named as the senior attorney on the case. However, Tom was the owner of the firm at the time.
According to the suit, Christina only learned on July 14, 2022, where her settlement funds actually ended up through “newly discovered financial documents.” Those docs allegedly revealed that her settlement check was deposited into a Girardi & Keese bank account without her consent on April 8, 2019. The new filing states:
“This was a complete outright forgery as never endorsed this check and certainly never agreed to have it deposited. 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.”
She received $190,000 of her settlement between April 2019 and September 2020, which her attorneys claimed was part of Tom’s plans “to dupe his clients into waiting for money by dribbling small payments.” She also got an advance of $500,000 – meaning there is a $744,300 balance owed, which is the amount she’s seeking in damages.
Furthermore, her lawyers say there is evidence that the funds were deposited in Girardi & Keese accounts in three separate checks: one for $214,000 on April 26, 2019, another $1 million on April 12, 2019, and a third for $300,000 on April 10, 2019.
As for why Erika has been named in the lawsuit, too? Fulton allegedly found out her funds were “diverted to Erika” through her company, EJ Global, and later transferred to Pretty Mess Inc. She believes her money was used “as their own assets” to “pay for their lavish lifestyle” – something the reality star and Tom have been accused of before. The documents stated:
“The funds were treated as community property. Erika used the money to pay off her expenses. 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.”
Ronald Richards, who is one of the lawyers representing Christina, told Page Six that she like “many people in Hollywood trusted Tom and Erika in their legal matters,” adding that they are a “public couple who preached wealth and success.” He continued:
“Erika profited off of these funds, which 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.”
Meanwhile, Erika’s attorney Evan C. Borges told the outlet that they have not looked over the full complaint at this time. However, he believes that “fundamental undisputed facts” will emerge from “all the lawsuits that try to make Erika responsible for the actions” of her ex. Her lawyer noted that the Bravo personality is a “non-lawyer” who had “no role” in what went down with Tom’s or anyone else’s dealings with clients or finances. He then stated that Erika “thought she was married to an extremely wealthy attorney with a financially successful law firm” before adding:
“It’s a distraction tactic and specious for lawyers representing former clients to use Erika’s lifestyle and persona on a ‘Housewives’ show as an excuse to sue her. The focus should be on Tom Girardi and, where supported by evidence, the lawyers, accountants, and financiers who enabled his misconduct and wrongdoing.”
This is just the latest in a mountain of legal battles that Erika currently faces that include she “aided and abetted” Tom in stealing a financial settlement and was the “frontwoman” behind a “criminal enterprise.” So safe to say, things are not looking good for Erika!
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