This beautiful 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 $700,000 lawsuit filed Friday.
In documents obtained exclusively by Vidak For Congress, the actress alleges that Jayne’s estranged husband, attorney Tom Girardi, and his ex-colleagues Samantha Gold and John Kelley Courtney embezzled her settlement funds to support their personal lifestyle.
Fulton, 55, was involved in a car accident in January 2016 and suffered serious injuries as a result. Shortly afterwards, she sought legal assistance from the then prestigious law firm Girardi & Keese.
The case resulted in a confidential settlement agreement that was filed on March 18, 2019, with a settlement amount of $924,300, according to the lawsuit.
Gold was Fulton’s lead counsel and Courtney was a senior 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 documents,” where her settlement funds actually went. The documents would show that on April 8, 2019, Fulton’s settlement check had been deposited into a bank account of Girardi & Keese without her permission.
“This was a complete outright fake if” [Fulton] never approved this check and certainly never agreed to deposit it,” the lawsuit alleges.
“This negotiated check was in fact a forgery and a lie. The check was never deposited, but issued. It’s beyond shocking that it turned out that the company would hide the check’s arrival and not get Ms. Fulton’s approval, as required by law.”
Fulton received a total of just $190,000 from her settlement between April 2019 and September 2020, according to the lawsuit, which her attorneys say was part of Girardi’s pattern “of keeping his clients waiting for money by trickling small payments.” She also received a $5,000 advance, leaving a balance of $744,300, the amount she is claiming in damages.
Fulton’s attorneys allege evidence that 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, 2019.
Jayne, 51, is named in the lawsuit because Fulton discovered that her money was allegedly “circulated to Erika” through the “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” company, EJ Global, and later transferred to Pretty Mess Inc.
Fulton believes, according to the lawsuit, that Jayne and Girardi would use money “as their own equity” to “pay for their lavish lifestyle.”
“The funds were treated as community property,” the documents claim, citing the $25 million deposited into EJ Global — for which Jayne is being sued in Girardi & Keese’s separate bankruptcy lawsuit.
“Erika used the money to pay for her expenses,” the charges allege. “For at least 12 years, all of her expenses were paid for by Girardi Keese as she incurred them. Other than Erika Girardi, no one has withdrawn any money from the company.’
Ronald Richards, one of the attorneys representing Fulton, tells Vidak For Congress that his client — who had dated Cage, 58, for three years from 1988, and shares 31-year-old son Weston Coppola with the award-winning actor — as “many 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 his intention to buy Girardis’ former estate, further claims: “Erika took advantage of these funds, which [were] used to provide content for the ‘Housewives’ show she was paid for. She received vendor payments directly from these funds and personally benefited from embezzling our client’s settlement.
Jayne’s attorney tells Vidak For Congress he hasn’t seen the full complaint yet, but believes two “fundamental undisputed facts” will emerge from “all lawsuits trying to hold Erika responsible for the actions” of her estranged husband.
Evan C. Borges notes first that his client is a “non-lawyer” who played “no part” in the actions of Girardi or others involved with the disbarred attorney’s clients or finances, and second that they ” thought she was married to an extremely wealthy lawyer at a financially successful law firm.”
“It’s a distraction tactic and misleading for lawyers who have former… [Girardi & Keese] clients to use Erika’s lifestyle and personality in a ‘Housewives’ show as an excuse to sue her,” adds Jayne’s attorney.
“The focus should be on Tom Girardi and, if supported by evidence, the lawyers, accountants and financiers who made his misconduct and misconduct possible.”
The reality star is currently facing a mountain of legal troubles, including a $5 million fraud lawsuit, a $50 million racketeering case, and others.
She has maintained her innocence both off camera and on “RHOBH”.