“I don’t think they should bring Teresa back,” Marchese tells PEOPLE. “I don’t have an issue with her working. She can work all she wants. I just don’t think it’s appropriate for her to be on this type of show any longer.”
If Bravo wants to do a show with her about life after prison, “they can knock themselves out,” says Marchese, who is married to cast member Amber Marchese. “But that’s a show to talk about what happened, her problems and how she’s dealing with them. That’s not the same thing as RHONJ. There’s a completely different theme to it.”
RHONJ, he says, “is about over-the-top lifestyles and over-the-top drama. At this point she can’t partake in any of this. I just don’t think this is the type of show for her.”
Teresa is in prison after pleading guilty to fraud charges. Her husband, Joe, will serve his sentence when she gets out of the Federal Correctional Institution in Danbury, Connecticut, in late December. She will serve the rest of her sentence, which ends on Feb. 5, 2016, in a halfway house or in home confinement, her lawyer, James Leonard, Jr., tells PEOPLE. (Federal prisoners usually serve 85 percent of their sentences, he says.)
From Marchese’s perspective, if Giudice does return to the show, she had better behave – or else she could find herself in trouble with the law again. “If she does come back to the show, she is going to be on probation,” he says. “If there is any type of altercation, she will immediately go to jail. For example – she flips a table? She goes to jail because if she did that in a public place, that would be considered disorderly conduct in my opinion. She will be violating her parole.”
Better behavior means less drama, of course.
“Her trademark table-flipping will no longer be a viable option,” he says. “Her fan base will be disappointed.”
Marchese was often in conflict with cast members last season. “I clashed with them because I have a difference of opinion on how somebody should live their life,” he says. “You should live within your means and you should be responsible. It’s just not about how much you can spend. You have to actually be able to pay your bills.”
Giudice’s return to the show could potentially hurt other cast members’ ability to pay their own bills, he says.
“When we started the show, Teresa wasn’t even indicted yet,” he says. “We took the job with the belief that you would be able to grow businesses out of it. Because Teresa and her husband have been convicted, it has been very difficult for Amber to launch businesses because no one wants to be associated with the show,” he says.
“Teresa’s criminal conviction and how she is portrayed on the show has made it so that cast members have leprosy at this point because people don’t want to be associated with them. Amber, for example, is starting several businesses, including RevolutionIZ, which provides personal training and 3-D body imaging to help people maximize their workouts.
“But it’s very difficult to have any major endorsements at this point because of Teresa,” says Marchese. “Point blank, they tell us, ‘We don’t want to be associated with felons.’ That’s the first thing they think of. I get it. It taints the show.”
As the owner and CEO of Mortgage Now in New Jersey, Marchese says he has also seen firsthand the damage that fraud can bring. “I have a mortgage bank,” he says. “We lend our money, which is my money, and we were the victims of over $4.5 million of fraud through the exact same type of fraud scheme – fake W2s, fake bank statements – by people who didn’t really have the money.”
“This happened before I acquired the bank, but it was part of the toxic debt that I acquired. We put in insurance claims and filed lawsuits, but we are getting back less than 20 cents on the dollar. So you can imagine, you lose $4 or $5 million to people who misrepresent themselves, and it hits home.”
Teresa’s lawyer had no comment other than to say, “With all due respect to Mr. Marchese, cast decisions should be left to the professionals at Bravo and Sirius Media.”