Thursday, August 4, 2022

The Origins of Erika Jayne's $800K Diamond Earrings — a Mystery

 At the Los Angeles Times, "Unraveling the mystery of Erika Jayne’s $800K diamond earrings — and Tom Girardi’s finances":

Not long after they started dating, Tom Girard presented cocktail waitress and aspiring actress Erika Chahoy with a pair of $800,000 diamond earrings.

“It was the first significant gift I had given her,” Girardi recalled years later to tax authorities.

The earrings set the tone for the private-jet-and-haute-couture lifestyle the pair would enjoy as a married couple.

Now, with the demise of the Girardis’ relationship and fortune, the jewelry has become a plot point in the quest to unravel the disgraced lawyer’s finances.

The trustee overseeing the bankruptcy of Girardi’s famed firm, Girardi Keese, has moved to seize a pair of diamond stud earrings, with plans to sell them to compensate cheated clients and other creditors. Erika Girardi at first agreed to relinquish them, but last month, her attorney announced that she was switching strategies and would battle for the baubles in court.

The earrings’ current location — a safe deposit box — is one of the only certain things about them. Neither the trustee nor Erika has described them in detail. There are no confirmed pictures of the jewelry, despite the star of “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” having been a red-carpet regular who was photographed by paparazzi as she conducted her life in Los Angeles.

When Times reporters attempted to trace the gems’ provenance, they found a tangled web of contradictions that pointed to a deeper mystery.

By his own account, Tom Girardi loved showering his third, much-younger wife with expensive jewelry.

The diamond earrings he gave her around the time of their 2000 wedding, when he was 60 and she was 28, were part of a collection that grew to include rings, bracelets, watches and other jewelry with a total value he once estimated at $15 million.

The earrings and other pieces came from M.M. Jewelers, a small shop tucked in a warren of similar outfits in downtown L.A.’s jewelry district. As a lawyer for the store’s owners, the Menzilcian family, acknowledged, “The relationship goes back a long way.”

Minding the store on a recent morning, Ared “Mike” Menzilcian said his father, 85, had a decades-long relationship with the lawyer, 83. Menzilcian declined to provide specific information as to the cut or clarity of the diamonds in the earrings, but he said the two stones — one for each ear — were “near flawless,” adding, “They were extremely large.”

Erika Girardi possessed the earrings until at least 2007, when she embarked on a career, bankrolled by her husband, as pop singer “Erika Jayne,” according to court records...

Also, "Tom Girardi’s epic corruption exposes the secretive world of private judges."