RHOBH's Erika Girardi's fortune could disappear before her eyes

Mar 30, 2016 at 9:22 p.m. ET

The attorney husband of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills' Erika Girardi is the subject of a lawsuit over allegedly defrauding clients out of a staggering amount of money.

Thomas Girardi, along with the law firm he founded and fellow lawyer Robert Finnerty, are being sued in federal court over allegations they mishandled funds won in a class action lawsuit.

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According to court documents, Girardi's firm won $130 million for the plaintiffs in a nine-year battle against the Lockheed corporation over chemical exposure — but now the plaintiffs say Girardi kept far too much of the pot for himself and used it to pay expenses completely unrelated to the case.

The papers outline where they believe Girardi spent the money, including but not limited to $250,000 to an aviation company he owns, $100,000 to a man they believe is his divorce attorney, $350,000 to Western Union for unspecified fees and a $500,000 payment to a real estate escrow account.

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"Girardi is believed to have charged Plaintiff a total contingency fee of 40 percent of total gross proceeds, even though Girardi had agreed to accept only one-third in fees on many of the settlements," states the lawsuit.

Plaintiff Paul Kranich, who filed the suit, accuses Girardi and his firm of swindling their clients in the Lockheed case out of an insane amount of money and is asking for $50 million in compensatory and punitive damages.

Erika has been married to the attorney for 17 years and they share a glamorous 1920s-era mansion in Pasadena, California, together. She joined the cast of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills for Season 6 and has already started stirring up drama.

Her husband rose to professional fame as the co-counsel in Erin Brockovich's famous lawsuit against Pacific Gas and Electric, winning $330 million in damages for the residents of Hinkley, California.

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UPDATE March 31, 2016: According to Thomas Girardi, this case has already been dismissed — and this is far from the first time the plaintiff has tried to come after him.

"First of all, the Lockheed litigation was 20 years ago," he told Radar Online. "Dion-Kindem went and he sued us. The court threw the whole thing out, said 'Forget about it, there's no merit, et cetera.'

"Then he goes and files another case!” Girardi said. “He goes door to door and got another guy and filed this thing. This is the fourth time he sued us," he said, adding the case was dismissed in February. "It's over with."

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