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Tom Girardi’s Alleged Victims Detail Erika Girardi’s Husband’s ‘Snake’ Behavior In Hulu Documentary ‘The Housewife And The Hustler’

The alleged victims of Tom Girardi are speaking out in the Hulu documentary, The Housewife and the Hustler. 

The ABC News Originals documentary detailed the allegations against Tom and his firm, Girardi Keese, and featured interviews with his alleged victims, including Joe Ruigomez, who was severely burned and scarred in 2010’s San Bruno gas pipeline explosion. 

According to the family, the lawyer “basically robbed” Joe of the millions of dollars from the settlement as he was difficult to reach while “managing” the funds.

Kim Archie, Ruigomez family friend and former legal consultant at Girardi Keese, explained, “[Tom’s mother Kathy] and I would joke, like, ‘Who are we going to call? We can’t all the D.A., that’s Tom’s friends. We can’t go to the Chief of Police, that’s Tom’s friend. You can’t go to the California Attorney General, that’s Tom’s friend. You can’t go the California bar, that’s Tom friends.’”

Joe Ruigomez’s family hired Tom after he was seriously injured in the San Bruno gas pipeline explosion in 2010. Joe’s sister, Jamie Ruigomez, noted that the family “thought he could win [the case] for us,” but “we didn’t know how much of a snake he would be along the way,” while his mother, Kathy, said Tom was “comforting” when they first met with him.

After settling the lawsuit against PG&E for the Ruigomez family in 2013, Tom allegedly told the family it would take three months to process the funds and asked if they wanted to put the money, which was millions of dollars, in one of his investments. “The primary reason I am trying to manage the young man’s funds is so that nothing goes wrong,” Tom wrote in a letter to the family. In a voicemail to the Ruigomezes, Tom told them he was “in their corner” and “never like a family more” than them, according to Us Weekly.

Joe, who claimed Tom “treated him like a child” and told him he worried about a young person getting too much money at once, subsequently noted he wasn’t getting payments on time and said Tom was hard to get ahold of.

“He would be like, ‘Oh, sorry about that. These things happen. I’ll get it to you next week,’” Joe alleged. “And half the time the check would come when he’d say so — the second time — and half the time it wouldn’t.”

By 2017, he claimed the checks “disappeared completely.” After the Ruigomez family filed a lawsuit for their remaining settlement funds, Tom agreed to pay them $12 million, signing a document saying he would make a $1 million payment and a $2.5 million payment a couple of months later. “He never got to the second payment,” Kathy claimed. After going back to court, Tom was deposed, and the family is “among the first in line to collect their settlement money from the bankruptcy” case.

Josie Hernandez’s contacted Tom in 2014 after several surgeries for an implant for “incontinence issues” after childbirth didn’t work and made her sick. While Girardi Keese settled the case for $135,000, she claimed by 2019 she still hadn’t seen a penny.

In a voicemail from Tom played by Hernandez, he said, “I don’t want you mad at me. I’m working like a dog to try and get this thing resolved. … I’m in your corner. … I’m a good guy, by the way.” She called him “unbelievably cruel” to leave the message when he already had her money.

After Hernandez filed a complaint with the bar, she was able to confirm Tom’s firm received the money in May 2020, but the voicemails were from August 2020. She still hasn’t gotten the settlement funds, reports Us Weekly.

Bias Ramadhan’s mother, Hasnawati, was a victim in the Lion Air Flight 610 crash. He called the lawsuit “emotionally draining” in the doc, noting that they sent weekly emails to Tom asking about the settlement money. “We are the victims here. Not him, not Tom, not his wife,” Ramadhan, who has three siblings, said. “We just want to know, ‘Can we get our money and when we will get it?’ … We don’t even know.”

The doc revealed that Erika Girardi’s name is listed on Tom’s Girardi Financial company as his “secretary,” with Law360’s features reporter Brandon Lowrey noting that raises “questions” about “what she knew, whether she benefited from this, what she’s received in that capacity” and inquired the trustees to dig into Erika.

Sunny Hostin noted that the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star’s defense is that many of her luxury items were “gifts to her” and “thus separate property” from Tom. “I’m not sure as a legal proposition wins the day,” Hostin said.

Lowrey added, “Tom and Erika, they’re stuck together in these bankruptcy proceedings. A lot of these debts, that they owe in bankruptcy proceedings, owe together, possibly. It’s going to be hard for her to say to she didn’t know that anything was going on.”

The reporter said that “one of the lenders owed money by Tom” claimed in a lawsuit that Tom gave Erika $20 million in loans from Girardi Keese and the money went to her company, EJ Global, noting the public hasn’t “seen the proof yet.”

The Housewife and the Hustler included Tom’s September 23, 2020, deposition tape, in which the former lawyer admitted he was broke. “At one point I had about $80 million or $50 million in cash. That’s all gone. I don’t have any money,” he said, pausing frequently when he spoke.

Erika, meanwhile, was subpoenaed to give a deposition about their finances in May 2020 and September 2020, but both of her hearing dates were postponed. Erika has yet to be legally charged with anything, reports Us Weekly.

The Housewife and the Hustler become available to stream on Hulu Monday, June 14. According to the publication, the documentary included reps for Bravo, Tom and Erika denied repeated requests for comment.


Photo Credit: Damian Dovarganes/AP/Shutterstock; Michael Simon/