Firm Accuses Erika Jayne of Colluding With Trustee Attorney in “Bizarre Shakedown” as Ronald Richards Responds and Reveals He is No Longer Involved in RHOBH Star’s Case

by Lindsay Cronin
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Firm Accuses Erika Jayne of Colluding With Trustee Attorney in "Bizarre Shakedown" as Ronald Richards Responds and Reveals He is No Longer Involved in RHOBH Star's Case

Jay Edelson, of Edelson PC, the law firm that sued Erika Jayne and Thomas Girardi in December 2020, claiming the couple embezzled $2 million from widows and orphans of Lion Air plane crash victims, alleges the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star is in cahoots with attorney Ronald Richards.

This week, the firm alleged that Ronald, who works for Elissa Miller, the trustee presiding over Thomas’ law firm‘s bankruptcy, had threatened them in an apparent effort to protect Erika.

According to a report from Law360, Edelson PC alleges Ronald threatened to expose damaging information in what they describe as a “bizarre shakedown” meant “to thwart Edelson’s investigation so as to protect their own interests at the expense of the clients.”

For nearly a year, Edelson PC has been fighting against a bankruptcy stay that has inhibited their investigation into whether or not Erika received their portion of the attorney fees they alleged agreed to split with Girardi Keese, Tom’s now-defunct law firm.

In court last week, the RHOBH cast member pushed back at Edelson PC, saying that their firm has no right to the attorney fees because the agreement they had with Girardi Keese was “illegal, unethical and unenforceable.” Meanwhile, in their latest filing, Edelson PC said her argument didn’t have anything to do with the stay they’re fighting against.

As Thomas and his firm are accused of owing over $100 million to creditors, Erika is facing a $25 million lawsuit, which claims she received money from Thomas and his firm, fraudulently, before he was forced into bankruptcy.

While the lawsuit was filed against Erika by Elissa, the bankruptcy trustee who hired Ronald to investigate her finances, things between Ronald and Erika have settled in recent weeks as they work towards a resolution to the case. And, as they attempt to come to an agreement, they’ve been accused of blocking Edelson PC’s attempt to seek an accounting from her, saying the idea was redundant.

In their filing on Tuesday, Edelson PC took aim at Ronald, accusing the attorney of being an aspiring “reality TV lawyer and social media influencer” and said his flip-flopping dynamic with Erika is odd.

“Far stranger, however, was the barrage of emails that the firm received shortly thereafter from special counsel to the trustee, Ronald Richards, unethically threatening to reveal information that would do ‘damage’ to the firm if Edelson did not agree to table the motion and accept financial records that he said would show Erika had not received any client funds in connection with Lion Air,” they wrote in their filing.

Ronald fired back at the claims of Edelson PC, denying he issued threats and insisting he was simply doing his job as an attorney for the trustee.

“You’re allowed to talk about the negative facts that may come out” as a result of a motion, he explained. “That’s well within the rules. … That’s not a shakedown. That’s what lawyers do every day.”

He also shared a statement on Instagram in which he revealed he will no longer be working with the trustee on the bankruptcy case involving Tom’s law firm, which means he will no longer be investigating Erika.

“The reporting limitations of being an attorney ONLY on the Erika Girardi case are inconsistent with our bigger mission-which is exposing the entirety of all the players, as well as doing what’s fair and right, even if its unpopular to some,” he wrote. “Therefore, we are parting ways on this case so we are free to comment without fear of repercussions or limitations.”

And just moments ago, Jay Edelson put out a tweet claiming Ronald was “terminated” by the trustee.

Erika is currently in production on the upcoming 12th season of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.