Thomas Girardi‘s former clients are disgusted with the idea that his wife, Erika Jayne, will soon be seen flaunting her over-the-top lifestyle on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills as they continue to wait for the millions they are due in settlements from the Lion Air Flight 610 crash in Indonesia.
Over a year after Thomas and his firm, Girardi Keese, scored a massive settlement from Boeing after scouting the victims’ families in Jakarta, widows, orphans, and other grief-stricken family members still haven’t received the money they are owed.
On May 18, the Los Angeles Times said that at least $3 million meant for the victims’ relatives went into the pocket of Thomas.
“This is rightfully ours, not Girardi’s,” said Septiana Damayanti, whose husband died in the crash, leaving behind not only her, but also their two children, aged 5 and 3. “I’m exhausted. I thought I could use the settlement money for the children. At least they could’ve gotten a good education, that they’d not need to worry.”
“It seemed to us that [Thomas] was robbing somebody to pay somebody else. Like he was using settlement money from Case A to pay for Case B,” she suspected. “In Indonesia, this would be theft and embezzlement.”
Sadly, Septiana is just one of several clients who Thomas stiffed.
“Tom was being pretty cagey when it came to the money,” Chicago lawyer Jay Edelson, who worked alongside Thomas on the case, recalled.
According to the attorney, Thomas requested he be given “more time” and lured with the idea that he’d pay even more than what was owed. Then, when the money never showed up, he filed a federal lawsuit against him, accusing him of using the victims’ settlement money to finance a “public image of obscene wealth” for him and the RHOBH cast member.
“Why wouldn’t everything be paid to the plaintiffs upon receipt of the money from Boeing?” Judge Thomas Durkin asked Thomas during a December hearing.
But Thomas, who is currently in the midst of an involuntary bankruptcy, had no explanation for the missing funds, and the case against him was referred to prosecutors for a criminal investigation.
“Half a million dollars for any one of these families is a significant amount of money, life-changing money, given the tragedy they went through and trying to carry on after that,” Durkin said before freezing the assets of the once-famed attorney.
Meanwhile, other victims came forward, including Multi Rizki, whose father died in the crash.
“They said at the time that the coronavirus is increasing so offices are closed, they cannot wire money,” he explained.
Bias Ramadhan, whose mother died on the flight, voiced his frustration with the extravagant lifestyles of Thomas and Erika, who split in November 2020.
“The way of life of Tom Girardi and his wife just doesn’t make sense for me, as someone coming from Indonesia,” he said. “The way he spent money is just mind-blowing, actually.”
Bias went on to say that because his father, a judge, was expected to provide for their family, including himself and his six siblings, he had found himself in a bad place financially as he continued to wait for the stolen settlement funds.
“I need to replace that. I need to continue his legacy,” he said. “For my little brother, we need to pay for his tuition fee and for my mother, we need money for her daily expenses. I have to take care of [my siblings].”
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