Andy Cohen and Melissa Gorga Sued for $30 Million by 'RHONJ' Star's Former Business Partner

Melissa Gorga's former business partner has sued The Real Housewives of New Jersey star and Andy Cohen for $30 million, claiming they made her look like a thief on the reality show

Photo: Charles Sykes/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank/Getty Images

Melissa Gorga‘s former business partner has sued The Real Housewives of New Jersey star and Andy Cohen for $30 million, claiming they defamed her on the reality show.

According to court documents obtained by PEOPLE, Jackie Beard Robinson has filed suit against Cohen, Gorga, NBC Universal and an executive at Sirens Media — which oversees production for the reality show — for defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Robinson and Gorga were formerly business partners in a New Jersey clothing store called Envy by Melissa Gorga.

In the documents, Robinson claimed she met Gorga in the spring of 2014, after the now 38-year-old visited a clothing store Robinson owned in Florida. The two subsequently went into business together in 2015, opening Envy.

However, according to the documents, on Jan 1., the two women ceased their partnership and Robinson claimed she returned to the store to gather merchandise which belonged to her. Robinson said she broke off the business relationship because Gorga allegedly “misappropriated over $37,000” from the store.

Their business was later used as a plot line on The Real Housewives of New Jersey. According to the documents, during an October episode, Gorga said Robinson “snuck in in the middle of the night and took all the clothes.”

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And during an October episode of Cohen’s Watch What Happens Live, the host appeared to take Gorga’s side, saying to the reality star, “Wow, so, that lady wound up kinda ripping you off?” Gorga responded yes.

Robinson said the incident depicted in the show made her look like a felon and has negatively impacted her business and personal life. She further claimed that she took the merchandise in question “in broad daylight” because it was hers.

Larry Klayman, Robinson’s attorney, told PEOPLE, “When you accuse someone of stealing, that’s the worse kind of defamation and it’s very serious. NBC and the other defendants will pay dearly for that, they destroyed her reputation.”

A spokesperson for Bravo told PEOPLE in response, “This lawsuit has no merit.”

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