Thursday, February 25

Lawyer Embezzled Money From 737 MAX Victims – One Mile at a Time

It’s not often that my love for aviation and my (former?) interest in reality TV intersect, but this is one of those rare situations, even if the circumstances are terrible.

Lawyer allegedly embezzled money from Boeing settlement

Tom Girardi of law firm Girardi Keese, and his wife, Erika Girardi of “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills,” are accused of misappropriating settlement funds intended for victims of Lion Air 610. This was the October 2018 Boeing 737 MAX flight that crashed, killing 189 people.

According to the suit, instead of paying clients the settlement money that the firm received from Boeing in the spring of 2020, Girardi instead embezzled the proceeds to avoid a “downward spiral of mounting debts and dwindling funds.” The suit alleges that this money is being used to fund their “outrageous lifestyles.”

The lawsuit has been filed by the firm Edelson, which acted as local counsel in the case. In recent months Edelson became aware that full payments hadn’t been made to crash victims, even though Boeing had transferred all settlement funds to Girardi.

Girardi allegedly instead entered agreements to redirect the money to the law firm’s creditors, from which Girardi borrowed millions of dollars. It’s also claimed that these creditors “knowingly demanded and received embezzled funds belonging to the Lion Air clients.”

All of this comes shortly after it was announced that 49-year-old Erika Girardi and 81-year-old Tom Girardi are getting divorced, after being married for 21 years. Edelson also claims that the divorce is a “sham attempt” to protect the couple’s money from creditors.

This is also why I’m largely over reality TV

It’s not often that there’s a context in which I can write about reality TV, but this is an exception.

The truth is that I’m basically over the “Real Housewives” franchises. Back in the day I thought they used to be entertaining, because it actually seemed like we were getting a glimpse at peoples’ lives.

Unfortunately at this point most of the franchises have become so beyond fake that I just can’t watch anymore. The number of people in these shows that file for bankruptcy or are jailed, all to keep up appearances, is just unbelievable. If I wanted a show about people getting locked up, I’d watch “Love After Lockup” (and I do watch that, for the record).

Just take “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills,” for example. You have Erika Girardi’s money-losing music “career” (perhaps indirectly being funded off the backs of 737 MAX crash victims), you have Dorit’s fake-as-could-be accent, and that doesn’t even address her husband, who seems to be in a worse financial situation than Norwegian Air, despite their ridiculous lifestyle.

Speaking of Erika, I love how on the show she talks about how she has two private jets she flies everywhere. Funny, because I sat across from her on an American Airlines flight a few years back (along with her “glam squad” that she takes everywhere)… I guess both of her jets were in for maintenance that day?

Now, to be clear, I’m not totally over reality TV. I still enjoy wholesome shows like “Love After Lockup,” “90 Day Fiance,” and “Family Chantel” (which I’m sad to admit, because I feel like I get more stupider every time I watch that show). Mainly I just watch crime shows, to the point that I basically consider myself qualified to be a criminal investigator (similar to how WebMD turns us all into doctors).

Bottom line

A new lawsuit alleges that a lawyer representing 737 MAX crash victims embezzled the funds intended for families of crash victims. Not only that, but the lawyer being sued is Tom Girardi, and his wife Erika Girardi, from “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.” This conveniently comes around the same time he and his wife are getting a divorce.

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