The Other McCain

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XXPEN$IVE: Beverly Hills Lawyer Paid High Price for His ‘Trophy Wife’

Posted on | March 8, 2021 | Comments Off on XXPEN$IVE: Beverly Hills Lawyer Paid High Price for His ‘Trophy Wife’

Erika Jayne Tom Girardi
Credit: Bravo

Professor Reynolds linked to the latest story about the downfall of California tort lawyer Tom Girardi, who was the guy behind the lawsuit made famous in the 2000 movie Erin Brockovich:

When Joe Biden came to Los Angeles to raise money for his presidential campaign, Tom Girardi filled a dining room at the Jonathan Club with wealthy attorneys. . . . The 2019 breakfast fundraiser at the private downtown club was in many ways the end of an era. By the time Biden was elected last fall, Girardi’s life and legal empire were unraveling. His wealth, once estimated north of $250 million, has vanished and with it his reputation as one of the nation’s most connected and respected lawyers. With Girardi facing bankruptcy, divorce and a criminal investigation, his days as a political insider and power broker appear over. For decades, though, politicians were happy to take his money and put up with his requests for something in return. Along with his family and employees, Girardi contributed more than $7.3 million to candidates.

If you study the pathetic tale of Girardi’s downfall — the Los Angeles Times ran a 4,000-word story about this shabby tragedy in December — you realize that the primary source of his problems was his third wife, a blonde bimbo gold-digger more than 30 years his junior. A native of Atlanta, Erika Chahoy moved to New York as soon as she turned 18. Gosh, I wonder what kind of work she was doing in New York?

While living in New York, she met Thomas Zizzo, when he was working as a DJ at a club in Manhattan. The couple got married in December 1991 at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Soon after she gave birth to a son, Thomas Zizzo, Jr. After the couple divorced a few years later, she relocated to Los Angeles to pursue her dream of becoming a singer.

If you suspect she was working as a teenage stripper, congratulations — great minds think alike. But in L.A., the gold-digger hit paydirt:

Girardi met Jayne in the late 1990s at Chasen’s, the famed Beverly Hills haunt where he was a co-owner and she waited tables in the bar. Jayne, then known as Erika Chahoy, was a striking, blond 28-year-old with a young son and dreams of stardom. Girardi was 60. . . .
She soon moved into what Girardi has described as a five-acre compound overlooking the Rose Bowl and quit Chasen’s. . . .
The couple married in the clubhouse of the Los Angeles Country Club in 2000. Girardi asked a judge he knew to officiate at the end of a round of golf. The wedding was so spontaneous that the groom enlisted an attorney in the bar as a witness. Although Girardi was in the midst of an acrimonious dispute over dividing assets with his second wife, he opted not to sign a prenuptial agreement.

When a 60-year-old man in the midst of his second divorce hooks up with that kind of girl, “happily ever after” is not a likely ending. Girardi is not a stupid man — his educational credentials are impressive and his successful career as a lawyer speaks for itself — but it would see that, with Erika Jayne, he was thinking with the wrong organ.

It appears that Erika Jayne got Girardi to sponsor her musical “career” to the tune of several million dollars. Top songwriters and producers were enlisted to put together the kind of electronic dance music where the singer’s ability (or lack thereof) was not really relevant. Her first single, “Roller Coaster,” was promoted with a video “shot in The Bahamas and at Stardust Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.” That the song had no discernible melody did not prevent it from reaching #1 in the Billboard Club Dance charts. And this went on for years. Nobody knows how much money Tom Girardi pumped into his wife’s career, but the amount was not small. In her 2017 song, “Xxpen$ive,” she boasted:

Bentleys and Benz’s
Through cash-colored lenses.
Them dollars and cents — cha-ching!
It’s expensive to be me.
Looking this good don’t come for free.

By then, she was 45 and had been starring in the Bravo network’s Real Housewives of Beverly Hills for two years. What viewers of the series didn’t know was that Tom Girardi was already scrambling to stave off the financial problems that would eventually destroy him.

What do you notice about that artwork? It’s absurdly crude, as if drawn by a high-school art student. Does it occur to you (as it occurred to me) that going cheap on the artwork could be seen as evidence of the shady nature of the finances behind this production?

To pay his wife’s bills, according to a lawyer representing the Indonesian crash victims, Girardi had been running his law firm like a Ponzi scheme, borrowing money at high interest against prospective future settlements and also, allegedly, swindling victims out of their rightful share of these settlements. Did I mention that Tom Girardi was a major Democratic Party donor? Do you think this might be more than a coincidence?

“At one point, I had about 80 million or 50 million in cash. That’s all gone,” Girardi acknowledged in testimony [in fall 2020] about another client’s funds. “I don’t have any money.”

Just about the time his money ran out — surprise! — Erika decided she needed to divorce Tom, because what else did their marriage ever mean?

Twenty years ago, Tom Girardi was worth more than $50 million, and now at age 81, he’s on his way to bankruptcy and disbarment.

He will probably die in prison. Way to go, top Democrat donor!



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