RHOBH: Erika Girardi Says Tom Isn't 'Mentally Capable,' Costars Question Her About Embezzlement Case
Wednesday's episode picked up with Sutton Stracke's private group meeting — sans Erika — from last week. Sutton, 49, told her costars she was "unsure" whether she would continue to associate with Erika, 50, who remains at the center of an ongoing embezzlement case with estranged husband Tom Girardi.
"I want to stay clean," Sutton said. "Like, I don't want to be involved."
Questioned by Lisa Rinna about what Sutton would do if she was wrong about Erika's involvement, Sutton said: "Then I'm eating crow pie, all day long."
"Right now, I am way more important than Erika Girardi is to me," she continued. "I'm more important."
Asked by Kyle Richards whether she was worried about her "reputation" or the "legalities" connected to the scandal, Sutton said she was "worried about both."
Kyle, 52, then admitted she sought "a lawyer's advice" to help explain the then-recent Los Angeles Times exposé, which accused Tom, 82, of "improperly funneling" over $20 million in loans to Erika's entertainment company.
Dorit Kemsley chimed in to share that she had also "sought some advice" over the situation. "I don't want our support of Erika to be misinterpreted as support for some of the atrocious things that have been done," she said.
After Sutton shared "gossip" regarding why one of Tom's partners left his law firm 10 years ago, Garcelle Beauvais asked Sutton whether she believed Erika had been telling the truth.
"No, I think she has lied to us," Sutton said, later noting that she was having "a hard time" being Erika's friend lately due to the discrepancies in what had previously been told to the cast.
Lisa, 58, argued that there was "no proof to not believe Erika at this point" and that she believed her longtime friend was "telling us the truth." Agreeing with Lisa, Kyle said that she didn't believe Erika "knew those things" that occurred.
"There cannot be a blind support, because I personally have known her for five years, and I'm telling you, everything I believed about Erika's life is actually the diametrical opposite," Dorit said. "She didn't portray that they had anything but a happy, loving marriage. When she talked about him, she talked about the man that was there for the little people."
After much heavy debate, the group came to the conclusion that they wanted to speak with Erika about her alleged involvement in the embezzlement case. That opportunity came later at Kyle's pre-Christmas dinner, which Erika and RHOBH alum Teddi Mellencamp Arroyave both attended.
As the ladies sat down to eat, Kyle thanked Erika "for even showing up" amid her personal and legal woes.
Erika then told the group that "there's more coming" her way due to Tom's legal controversy, leading Sutton to question whether she was really "blindsided" by everything that had surfaced — and whether she knew about new information before it appeared online.
"I don't have access to lawsuits before they hit the press," Erika hit back, later noting that she was "not answering anyone's questions" as Sutton continued to seek answers.
Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories.
Dorit said that "no one is looking to pry" and that she could "understand" Erika's pain, but Garcelle, 54, chimed in: "That's not what you said last night."
Dorit then explained that Sutton called for a secret meeting to discuss how Erika's legal issues could impact the group.
"The reason I wanted to talk to everybody was to see where we all were on this," Sutton said, as Erika replied, "So, it's like a committee. Do we support Erika or do we not?"
Sutton shared that the cast wanted to have "as much knowledge" as possible on the situation, resulting in Lisa calling her out.
Lisa then told Sutton to "be real" and share what actually was discussed during the private meeting. Sutton subsequently revealed that she sought legal advice from an attorney, and Garcelle said that she wasn't "the only one" to do so.
After Dorit and Kyle admitted to seeking legal advice, Kyle said an attorney informed her that "it is very likely that Erika had no idea of what was going on in her husband's business."
Sutton, however, stated that she was just "protecting" herself.
Hitting back, Erika questioned: "Protecting yourself how? Darling, how are you involved in any of this?"
Kyle mentioned how Sutton was "worried" about her reputation, resulting in Erika saying: "You guys, are you really that afraid of me?"
Sutton then brought up the allegation regarding Tom funneling millions into Erika's company, and Kyle questioned whether Erika had any part in it.
"What do you think?" Erika said, leading Kyle to reply, "As your friend, I don't think you did."
Erika said that "no one knows the answer" about what happened except for Tom. Asked by Sutton whether she had discussions with her legal team about how to navigate through everything, Erika said she hadn't. Dorit, in turn, said that they shouldn't ask "uncomfortable" questions like that.
Garcelle then brought up a situation about her sister, who was supposed to be awarded money after a kidney transplant-gone-wrong, and the attorney was negligent in the process.
"So if what Tom did is absolutely true, then f--- Tom," Garcelle said, as Erika replied, "What's being alleged in that lawsuit is terrible. He will have to pay a price for that if, in fact, that's what happened."
"I think what has happened to Tom here is that he's not mentally capable, and he's in sole control of his firm. And I think that it got away from him," Erika continued about her ex, who has since been diagnosed with dementia and late-onset Alzheimer's disease.
"I think that we're dealing with a man who is [at a] diminished capacity in control, and not doing the right thing. Because if he stole the money, I'd like to know where it is. You know, that's the truth," said Erika.
Garcelle later added that "the victims are the most important thing" and that Erika would "always be okay." Agreeing, Erika said: "Yeah, the victims need to be taken care of."
As the ladies gathered for dessert in another room, Sutton pulled Dorit aside. Speaking one-on-one, Sutton said she felt Dorit had thrown her under the bus.
Though Dorit disagreed, Sutton said: "You had the same feelings as me [at the secret meeting], and it felt to me tonight like everybody was like, 'No, we didn't have any of those feelings. Just you.'"
On Erika's way out, she received a hug and a gift from Sutton.
"You really know what people are made of when there are tough situations around. You can smell the cowards two miles away," Erika said in a confessional about the confrontation. "I don't know if the rats are leaving the ship or if I'm leaving the rats."
The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills airs Wednesdays (8 p.m. ET) on Bravo.