This pretty mess just keeps getting uglier.
Nicolas Cage’s ex-girlfriend, Christina Fulton, is suing Erika Jayne and two former Girardi & Keese attorneys for alleged fraud and theft in a more than $700,000 lawsuit filed Friday.
In documents obtained exclusively by Page Six, the actress claims that Jayne’s estranged husband, disgraced attorney Tom Girardi, and ex-colleagues Samantha Gold and John Kelley Courtney embezzled her settlement funds to support their mode of personal life.
Fulton, 55, was involved in a car accident in January 2016 and suffered serious injuries as a result. Soon after, she sought legal representation from the prestigious law firm Girardi & Keese.
The case culminated in a confidential settlement agreement filed on March 18, 2019, with a settlement amount of $924,300, per lawsuit.
Gold was Fulton’s lead attorney and Courtney was a lead attorney on the case. However, Girardi, now 83, was the owner and controlling member of their company at the time.
According to the lawsuit, Fulton learned on July 14, 2022, through “newly discovered financial records,” where his settlement funds actually went. The documents allegedly revealed that on April 8, 2019, Fulton’s paycheck was deposited into a Girardi & Keese bank account without his consent.
“It was an outright fake because [Fulton] never endorsed that check and certainly never agreed to have it deposited,” the lawsuit alleges.
“This negotiated check was actually a forgery and a lie. The check was never held in trust, but spent. It is beyond shocking and deplorable that the company conceals the arrival of the check and does not obtain Ms. Fulton’s approval as required by law.
Fulton only received a total of $190,000 from his settlement between April 2019 and September 2020, according to the lawsuit, which his lawyers say was part of Girardi’s scheme “to dupe his clients while waiting for money by dribbling small payouts”. She also received a $5,000 advance, leaving a balance of $744,300, the amount she seeks in damages.
Fulton’s attorneys say there is evidence the settlement funds were paid to Girardi & Keese in three separate checks: $214,000 on April 26, 2019, $1 million on April 12, 2019, and $300,000 on April 10. April 2019.
Jayne, 51, is named in the lawsuit because Fulton discovered her funds were allegedly “diverted to Erika” through the “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” star’s company, EJ Global, and then transferred to Pretty Mess Inc.
Fulton believes, according to the lawsuit, that Jayne and Girardi would use funds “as their own assets” to “pay for their lavish lifestyles.”
“The funds were treated as community property,” the documents allege, citing the $25 million deposited in EJ Global – for which Jayne is being sued in the separate Girardi & Keese bankruptcy case.
“Erika used the money to pay her expenses,” the lawsuit claims. “For at least 12 years, all of her expenses were paid for by Girardi Keese as she generated them. No one but Erika Girardi took any money out of the business.
Ronald Richards, one of the attorneys representing Fulton, tells Page Six that his client – who dated Cage, 58, for three years from 1988 and shares 31-year-old son Weston Coppola with the award-winning actor – as “a lot of people in Hollywood trusted Tom and Erika in their legal affairs.
Richards adds that Jayne and Girardi were a “public couple who preached wealth and success.”
Ronalds, who recently announced that he was looking to buy the former Girardi estate, further claims: “Erika took advantage of these funds, which [were] used to provide content for the show ‘Housewives’ for which she was paid. She directly received supplier payments from these funds and personally benefited from the diversion of our client’s payment. »
Jayne’s attorney tells Page Six he hasn’t seen the full complaint yet, but thinks two “fundamental undisputed facts” will emerge from “any lawsuit that tries to hold Erika responsible for the actions” of her ex. husband.
Evan C. Borges first notes that his client is a “non-lawyer” who had “no role” in the actions of Girardi or others dealing with the disbarred attorney’s clients or finances, and second, she “thought she was married to an extremely wealthy man”. attorney at a financially successful law firm.
“This is a distracting and specious tactic for lawyers representing former [Girardi & Keese] clients to use Erika’s lifestyle and personality on a ‘Housewives’ show as an excuse to sue her,” adds Jayne’s attorney.
“The focus should be on Tom Girardi and, when supported by evidence, the lawyers, accountants and financiers who enabled his misconduct and wrongdoing.”
The reality star is currently facing a mountain of legal troubles which includes a $5 million fraud lawsuit, a $50 million racketeering lawsuit and more.
She maintained her innocence both off-camera and on “RHOBH.”