8-31-22 - As seen in Law360.com - Tom Girardi's Art, Treasures Set For Auction Next Week

Posted on August 31, 2022

Tom Girardi's Art, Treasures Set For Auction Next Week

By Brandon Lowrey · Listen to article

Law360 (August 25, 2022, 4:50 PM EDT) -- More than 200 valuable items from Tom Girardi's Southern California mansion are slated to go up for auction next week, with most of the proceeds going to repay a litigation lender owed by the disgraced lawyer's bankrupt estate.

Among the items are a Steinway piano, valued at up to $60,000, and numerous works by famed international artists and authors. Numerous law books from Girardi's library will be up for bid as well, along with a first-edition English translation of "The Prince," Niccolò Machiavelli's infamous treatise exploring the darkest practices of politics.

Online bidding is expected to begin in the first half of next week, according to John Moran Auctioneers & Appraisers. The auction is set for Sept. 21 at noon Pacific time, allowing bids online, over the phone or in person in Monrovia, California.

Girardi and his defunct firm, Girardi Keese, owe more than $100 million to former clients, co-counsel, lenders and vendors, according to bankruptcy court filings. He was disbarred in May after the State Bar of California found that he had stolen millions from several clients' settlements.

The auctioneer has estimated that the sale will bring in up to $280,700. Most of that money – 80% – will go to repay California Attorney Lending II Inc., a New York-based litigation lender that had lodged a claim for more than $6 million against Girardi and his firm as part of their bankruptcy proceedings. The remaining 20% will go to Girardi's numerous unsecured creditors under an agreement reached last year, according to the bankruptcy trustee's application to hire the auctioneer.

On Thursday, California Attorney Lending II attorney William F. Savino said that Girardi still owes his client roughly $1 million.

Girardi, 83, had previously been a prominent and politically connected plaintiffs' attorney for decades, famed for his role in winning a $333 million settlement in a groundwater pollution case that inspired the 2000 film "Erin Brockovich." More recently, he has been known for being the husband of singer and "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" star Erika Girardi, whose stage name is Erika Jayne.

But in December 2020, a federal judge in Chicago found that Tom Girardi and his firm had stolen at least $2 million from settlements he negotiated on behalf of widows and orphans of plane crash victims he had represented. But by then, Girardi and his firm were already insolvent, and the money was gone.

Creditors soon forced Girardi and his firm into separate bankruptcy liquidation proceedings, and Girardi has since been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease and placed under conservatorship.

Numerous other clients have come forward alleging that Girardi stole from them.

In addition to the treasures from Girardi's mansion in Pasadena, California, the real estate itself is up for sale. The property was listed last year for $13 million, but the price has since plummeted to $7.9 million. More than $6.3 million in liens are attached to the property, Girardi's personal bankruptcy trustee said in a June court filing.

The trustee, Jason Rund, is represented by Timothy J. Yoo and Carmela T. Pagay of Levene Neale Bender Yoo & Golubchik LLP.

Tom Girardi's conservatorship is represented by Leonard Pena of Pena & Soma APC.

California Attorney Lending II is represented by William F. Savino of Woods Oviatt Gilman LLP.

The case is In Re: Thomas Vincent Girardi, case number 2:20-bk-21020, in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California.

William F. Savino