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State bar admits ‘mistakes’ in handling years of complaints against Tom Girardi



The State Bar of California acknowledged Thursday that its investigators had mishandled years of complaints in opposition to disgraced legal titan and “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” cast member Tom Girardi.

The beautiful public admission comes after a Times investigation revealed in March described how Girardi had saved his legislation license pristine regardless of greater than 100 lawsuits in opposition to him and his agency, lots of them alleging misappropriation of funds. The article detailed how Girardi cultivated shut relationships with bar staff by treating them to wine-soaked lunches at Morton’s, on line casino events in Las Vegas and personal airplane rides.

The regulatory company’s Board of Trustees mentioned in a information launch Thursday that an inside audit of the L.A. energy dealer’s file on the bar “revealed mistakes made in some investigations over the many decades of Mr. Girardi’s career going back some 40 years and spanning the tenure of many Chief Trial Counsels.”

The audit performed not too long ago by an outdoor advisor “identified significant issues” within the “investigation and evaluation of high-dollar, high volume trust accounts,” the bar mentioned.

The announcement was extremely uncommon for the bar, which hardly ever feedback on its investigations, and a testomony to how totally the downfall of the wealthy and politically connected Girardi has shaken the authorized group and the company tasked with policing it.

The 82-year-old legal professional appeared an immutable drive within the plaintiff’s bar in California and past for many years, successful big judgments in opposition to drug corporations and poisonous polluters, together with within the case immortalized within the movie “Erin Brockovich.” He additionally loved popular culture notoriety on “Real Housewives” alongside his spouse, pop singer Erika Jayne.

Friends and friends have been shocked when his well-respected agency, Girardi Keese, collapsed immediately final yr. Then proof started piling up that he had stolen thousands and thousands in settlement cash from weak shoppers — together with widows, orphans, a burn sufferer and his household — in what one colleague characterised to a decide as a long-running Ponzi scheme.

The state bar didn’t say whether or not the particular errors uncovered within the audit have been associated to his currying of favors with workers. Agency spokeswoman Teresa Ruano mentioned Alyse Lazar, a Thousand Oaks legal professional who was a supervising prosecutor for the bar within the Nineteen Nineties, performed the overview, however Ruano mentioned she couldn’t disclose particular details about the quantity or nature of the complaints.

“The details of the audit are confidential,” Ruano mentioned.

The trustees have requested that the bar “investigate new and innovative means of regulating and monitoring attorney-client trust accounts to prevent misappropriations from occurring in the first place,” in accordance with the information launch.

“We must use lessons learned to strengthen the state bar’s rules, policies and procedures to avoid replicating problems of the past,” mentioned the board’s chair, San Francisco legal professional Sean SeLegue.

The bar is presently making an attempt to disbar Girardi. He was recognized with Alzheimer’s disease this yr, and his brother, who acts as his authorized guardian, has advised the company Girardi won’t observe legislation once more and doesn’t plan to contest the proceedings.





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