Erika Girardi's Husband Tom Sued by Law Firm Partner amid Divorce, Embezzlement Case
In court documents obtained by PEOPLE, Keese and fellow business partners Robert Finnerty and Jill O’Callahan are suing Tom to dissolve their venture, known as 1126 Wilshire Partnership.
The plaintiffs allege that Tom, 81, never paid them approximately $315,000 in income from the partnership and instead kept the money for himself. They further claim that he took out loans against the property without their knowledge for his “own personal gain, benefit and use.”
As a result, Keese, Finnerty and O’Callahan claim they each lost $442,500 in equity, in addition to the $315,000 in lost earnings. According to the court documents, the trio is asking to dissolve the partnership and liquidate the assets and are asking to be paid the money they were previously owed, as well as punitive and compensatory damages.
This lawsuit comes amid a series of legal troubles for Tom, who was held in civil contempt earlier this week over allegedly embezzling funds from several families who lost loved ones in a 2018 Boeing plane crash.
According to The Chicago Sun-Times, Tom, who attended the Chicago court hearing on Monday via telephone, was unable to explain to U.S. District Judge Thomas Durkin where at least $2 million went from the crash settlement of Lion Air Flight 610, which departed from Jakarta, Indonesia in October 2018.
The alleged embezzlement first came to light on Dec. 2, when Tom and Erika, 49, were hit with a lawsuit by law firm Edelson PC, less than a month after the Bravo star filed for divorce from her husband of 21 years on Nov. 3.
According to the documents obtained by PEOPLE, the lawyer and Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star are accused of embezzling settlement funds meant to help the families of victims on Lion Air Flight 610 and using the money to fund their “lavish Beverly Hills lifestyles.”
The suit goes on to claim that the couple’s impending divorce is “a sham.”
"At the heart of this deception is Defendant Girardi and his need to fund outrageous lifestyles for himself and his soon-to-be ex-wife, Erika Jayne," the documents state, claiming that protecting their finances is the reason for their recent divorce and that this incident is not "the first attempt by Tom to hide and divert assets."
RELATED VIDEO: RHOBH Star Erika Girardi Files for Divorce from Tom Girardi After 21 Years
"While Erika publicly filed for divorce this month, on information and belief, that ‘divorce’ is simply a sham attempt to fraudulently protect Tom’s and Erika’s money from those that seek to collect on debts owed by Tom and his law firm GK," it continues.
Erika announced the divorce in November, sharing in a statement obtained by PEOPLE that her decision to end her marriage was "not a step taken lightly or easily."
"I have great love and respect for Tom and for our years and the lives we built together. It is my absolute wish to proceed through this process with respect and with the privacy that both Tom and I deserved," she added. "I request others give us that privacy as well."