Erika Jayne recently turned over a pair of $750,000 diamond earrings amid the ongoing bankruptcy proceedings against her estranged husband, Thomas Girardi, and his law firm, Girardi Keese. However, according to the Los Angeles Times’ latest exposé on the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills cast member, who has since appealed a judge’s ruling on the matter, it wasn’t her first pricey pair of studs.
Although Erika was gifted the $750,000 earrings around 2007, the new report claims the first pair of earrings Thomas gave Erika were reportedly presented to the RHOBH star years prior, just before their 2000 wedding, and were believed to be worth $800,000.
“It was the first significant gift I had given her,” Thomas recalled to tax authorities a year later, as revealed by an August 4 report from the Los Angeles Times.
As for what happened to the original earrings, the details surrounding their disappearance are a bit unclear. However, many items from the former couple’s jewelry collection, which Thomas once said was worth an estimated $15 million, came from Los Angeles’ M.M. Jewelers.
“The relationship goes back a long way,” a lawyer for the store’s owners, the Menzilcian family, shared.
One particular family member, Ared “Mike” Menzilcian, further confirmed that his father’s relationship with Thomas was decades-long and noted that the earrings he purchased for Erika featured “near flawless” stones and were “extremely large.”
But in 2007, things got a bit “murky,” as the Times noted, with Thomas suggesting the diamonds after he and Erika embarked on a vacation.
“Fortunately, almost all of Erika’s major pieces of jewelry were in a massive safe that could not be opened or moved,” he wrote to tax authorities in a 2012 letter, which has since been filed in bankruptcy court, adding that Erika’s earrings weren’t in a safe, “but rather in a little cup in her dressing room.”
“The thieves took the earrings, two of my watches, two of her watches and a bracelet,” he alleged.
Also in 2007, after the alleged robbery, Thomas claims M.M. Jewelers made Erika a similar replacement that cost $750,000, which he paid for, via check, from settlement funds he and Girardi Keese scored for clients of a drug injury case (this is why a judge ultimately demanded Erika turn them over).
But when it comes to police records, Pasadena authorities claim the money for the second pair of earrings was transferred to M.M. Jewelers prior to the supposed robbery, which reportedly took place on December 28 — nine months after the check was written to the store. And in a 2009 lawsuit against their homeowners’ association, Thomas and Erika admitted the earrings were stolen on that very day, saying that they were actually at dinner and not on vacation when the incident reportedly occurred.
Although their lawsuit against their HOA proved unsuccessful, state tax authorities have been asking questions about the alleged burglary and the earrings. And in response, Thomas submitted a document to the Franchise Tax Board in Sacramento that he claimed was proof of the robbery — and that included a declaration from Mike Menzilcian, who confirmed the money given to him was used to replace Erika’s earring.
“The matter was one of serious concern and Tom asked me to try to duplicate the earrings that were stolen. I did exactly that,” the jeweler stated.
The jeweler was also questioned about Thomas’ conflicting accounts of the supposed robbery, and via attorney Sevan Gorginian, offered a response: “Perhaps Girardi’s version of facts is not credible despite a ‘sworn declaration.’ His character and credibility, in light of everything that has happened, speaks for itself with respect to his version of what happened.”
While it is unknown what came of the Tax Board’s investigation into the issue, the Times revealed that this wasn’t the first time the jeweler had been linked to Thomas’ alleged misappropriation of clients’ funds.
About 10 years ago, Thomas enlisted Mike for a diamond ring. And to pay for the stone Thomas desired, the owner of the jewelry store borrowed $150,000 from family friend Berj Boyajian, who allegedly transferred the money from a settlement account meant for Armenian genocide victims to M.M. Jewelers before being paid back the following year.
The transfer was reported to law enforcement and ultimately, Berj admitted to the crime.
According to the report, Thomas continued to work with the jewelry store until 2017 or 2018, when he bought an estimated “six or seven” pieces, according to the family’s attorney.
As Thomas’ bankruptcy continues, and the once-famed lawyer is frequently hit with new lawsuits from past clients and creditors, the Menzilcian’s attorney has confirmed they have complied with a subpoena to turn over Thomas’ purchase records to the trustee in charge of his firm’s bankruptcy.
The attorney also insists the family has done nothing wrong and has “nothing to hide.”
The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills season 12 airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on Bravo.