Erika Jayne is responding to a lawsuit filed against her and a number of others with a statement from her attorney.
After the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star, 52, was sued for more than $18 million by designer Chris Psaila, who claims Erika and her estranged husband, Thomas Girardi, 82, conspired with the United States Secret Service and American Express to falsely accuse him of fraud, extorting money, and ruining his career, Erika slammed the case as “calculated.”
According to an August 29 report from TMZ, Erika and two Secret Service agents, as well as others, are named in the lawsuit filed by Chris, who suggested Erika corrupted the agents and convinced them to prosecute him for allegedly making over $800,000 worth of fraudulent charges to Thomas’ American Express account (Erika was listed as an authorized user).
As Chris explains, Erika gave him and his boutique, Marco Marco, permission to charge the card for the costumes he designed and provided for her performances after he began working with the RHOBH cast member in 2014. But years into their professional relationship, Erika accused him of making between $800k to $900k in unauthorized charges from 2015 to 2016 — and allegedly conned the Secret Service and bribed Robert Savage, the head of Secret Service’s Los Angeles office at that time, into investigating and charging him with crimes.
While Chris insists all of the designs were given to her, American Express sided with Erika and refunded her and Thomas over $787,000 before he had a chance to tell his side of the story.
In his lawsuit against Erika and others, Chris says Thomas and Robert had a friendship and that Robert has a “history of falsely billing for advance Presidential location scouting trips” that forced him out of the agency.
Chris went on to say that Thomas bribed Robert to investigate him in exchange for representing him in a lawsuit against Volkswagen and agreed to pay him $100,000 upon the start of said investigation.
Because the designer claims to have suffered emotional distress, financial harm, and emotional, psychological, and physical injuries because of the claims made against him and the money that was ultimately taken, he wants at least $18.2 million from the named parties.
In response to the suit, a rep for American Express spoke to TMZ.
“In late 2016, federal law enforcement contacted American Express regarding its investigation into fraud by Mr. Psaila. While it is our policy to not comment on the specific activity on an individual Card Member’s accounts, we followed our regular processes and procedures throughout this investigation as we dealt with law enforcement,” they stated. “We did not initiate the investigation, nor did we proactively contact law enforcement, and the information law enforcement requested from us was typical in fraud investigations. We did not play any role in the criminal investigation of Mr. Psaila or his business other than responding to inquiries from law enforcement.”
Following the filing of the lawsuit, Erika’s attorney, Evan Borges, released a statement.
“It seems calculated that Plaintiff timed this lawsuit to coincide with the rave reviews of Erika’s Las Vegas residency opening. Plaintiff’s claims against Erika are entirely without merit. Independent federal prosecutors at the U.S. Attorney’s Office made the decision to charge plaintiff with crimes, no one else. The notion that Erika controlled the U.S. Government, or for that matter a Fortune 100 company such as American Express, is fantasy.”
Robert Savage also spoke out, telling TMZ, “I am restricted by a non-disclosure when I retired from the U.S. Secret Service to discuss casework during my tenure without their approval, so I would respectfully redirect your questions pertaining to the lawsuit to the USSS Office of Chief Counsel and U.S. Attorneys Office for the Central District of California.”
He then gave a nod to a months-old interview he did with the L.A. Times (that was conducted under USSS approval), which featured him admitting to being in contact with Erika in regard to the issue and referring her to a member of the government agency.
The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills season 13 is expected to premiere on Bravo sometime this fall.