Los Angeles Times reporters Matt Hamilton and Harriet Ryan are speaking out about the recently-aired 11th season of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.
Ahead of last night’s conclusion of the four-part reunion special, the outlet’s staffers, who wrote the article that was at the center of the season 11 drama, shared what they learned from Erika Jayne on the episodes in regard to her marriage to her estranged husband Thomas Girardi and revealed what they still want to know about the reality star and performer.
“My main takeaway was the portrait of the somewhat bleak inner life of the Girardi marriage’s last years: the power imbalance, his multiple affairs, the financial control that Tom allegedly wielded, the attempts by Erika to get Tom help, the ring of people that surrounded Tom and limited Erika’s access,” Matt revealed during a Q&A with the L.A. Times.
“When did she hire her lawyer? How does she pay her assistant? How and when did she hire a moving truck? When did she put her rent down on her new residence? The logistics are intense, especially considering she was also filming. And Bravo’s cameras caught none of this? Really?” he asked.
Harriet was also confused about the timing of Erika’s split from Thomas as well as her reasoning for staying in her marriage.
“She files for divorce and says Girardi was unfaithful and verbally abusive to her for years and she stayed only because her substantial RHOBH checks were sent to the Girardi Keese office. Couldn’t she have just called Bravo HR and changed the address?” she wondered.
During one particular episode of RHOBH, Erika told her castmates, many of whom were quite shocked by the contents of Matt and Harriet’s article (including Sutton Stracke, who read it three times), “I don’t have a heads up on an L.A. Times article … Nobody calls me to say, ‘Hey, by the way, this piece is coming out on you.’”
But according to Matt, they reached out to Erika’s publicist and her attorney for comment.
“We sought comment on the lawsuit that accused the Girardi’s of a sham divorce. Two days before our story was published in mid-December… we sent questions to her representatives. We did not specify when the story would go live online, but gave a sharp deadline of the day prior,” he revealed.
As for Erika’s claim that the story was nothing more than a “hit piece,” Harriet said she believes Erika either doesn’t understand the meaning of the term or didn’t read their article.
Although Erika was accused of inconsistencies throughout the 11th season of RHOBH, Matt said he felt she was “withholding” more than she was displaying inconsistencies. Meanwhile, Harriet put a spotlight on her story about Thomas’ car accident.
“The car wreck is something that Girardi loyalists have been pushing out there since last year as an explanation of his behavior,” she explained. “Girardi was known as a heavy drinker and he kept a chauffeur on staff. I know Matt looked for public records for a car crash as described by Erika et al. and didn’t find anything. In any case, a recent head injury wouldn’t explain the misappropriation allegations against him dating back to the 1980s.”
As for what they still want to know, Matt would love to hear more from Erika about Thomas’ political and judicial connections, and Harriet has questions about Thomas’ mental health.
“What year did you first notice signs of dementia? Who did you talk to about it? If you claim that a doctor refused treatment because of Girardi’s legal power, please name that doctor. Do you regret not doing more to get him treatment?” Harriet said she would ask Erika if given the chance.
Matt and Harriet also shared where the legal proceedings against Erika and Thomas stand today.
“In the Indonesian plane crash case, two former lawyers at Girardi Keese, including Tom’s son-in-law, are the subject of a hearing next month in Chicago over whether they should be held in contempt of court for their alleged conduct in the case,” Matt revealed. “That hearing could prove revealing, as it will likely shine a light on the final months of the Girardi law firm and the signs inside the business that it was unraveling.”
“The bankruptcy process is ongoing. The trustees are in the process of identifying all assets for Girardi’s estate and his law firm. They are getting all of Erika’s financial records and they will be deposing various people involved in the couple’s finances. The assets they turn up have to be liquidated and used to pay off the creditors, including clients owed settlement money and lenders,” added Harriet.
The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills cast is currently filming season 12.
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