The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star, 52, spoke with Tom’s alleged victims at a Paul’s Ice Cream event in Los Angeles on Sunday, July 16, according to a report from Page Six. “I came here with an open heart to listen to what’s going on, hear what happened and figure out how to be a part of how to move forward together in a way that’s beneficial for all victims,” Erika told the outlet.
Paul’s Ice Cream was cofounded by Kimberly Archie, a former employee at Tom’s former law firm Girardi Keese, and Kathy Ruigomez, whose son Joseph Ruigomez was critically injured in the 2010 San Bruno pipeline explosion. Kathy alleged that Tom, 84, defrauded Joseph’s $11 million settlement, which the family won in a 2020 lawsuit against PG&E. (Joseph’s story was featured in the 2021 Hulu documentary The Housewife & the Hustler.)
Erika also reportedly spoke to Josie Hernandez, who reached out to Tom for legal counsel in 2014 after she became ill following several failed surgeries to get an implant for “incontinence issues” after childbirth. Girardi Keese settled the case for $135,000, but by 2019, Hernandez claimed she hadn’t received any payments.
Erika filed for divorce from Tom in November 2020 after 21 years of marriage. One month later, the couple were accused of embezzling funds earmarked for families of plane crash victims. Erika was dismissed from that lawsuit in January 2022, but the estranged duo were named in several other subsequent lawsuits.
In February, Tom was indicted for allegedly embezzling more than $15 million from his clients and was charged with five counts of wire fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. The federal indictment alleged that Tom and his colleague Christopher Kazuo Kamon fraudulently obtained millions of dollars that belonged to Girardi Keese clients from 2010 to December 2020.
Erika, for her part, was not accused of or charged with any crimes. After Tom’s indictment made headlines, the reality star said she would share her thoughts on the case in the coming months. “You know, I have something to say, but not right now,” she told paparazzi in February. “You’ll hear from me soon.”
Earlier this year, Erika said that 2022 was a “heavy” period for her, in part because of her split from Tom and the controversy surrounding his former firm. “There was a point that I didn’t wanna wake up,” she exclusively told Us Weekly in April. “I mean, there was a point that I just didn’t wanna ever really be on the planet.”
Erika went on to say that she started to feel better after reaching out for medical help and accepting support from her loved ones. “My therapist, my psychiatrist, my friends and my family really helped me through,” she explained. “It’s important to have those people around you that really look out for you. Because it was very ugly, very dark for a while.”
If you or someone you know is in emotional distress or considering suicide, call the Suicide Prevention & Crisis Lifeline at 988.