This pretty mess just keeps getting uglier.
Nicolas Cage’s ex-girlfriend Christina Fulton is suing Erika Jayne and two former Girardi & Keese attorneys for alleged fraud and theft in a $700,000-plus lawsuit filed Friday.
In documents exclusively obtained by Page Six, the actress claims Jayne’s estranged husband, disgraced attorney Tom Girardi, and his ex-colleagues Samantha Gold and John Kelley Courtney misappropriated her settlement funds to support their personal lifestyles.
Fulton, 55, was involved in a car accident in January 2016 and sustained severe injuries as a result. Soon after, she sought legal representation from the then-prestigious Girardi & Keese law firm.
The case resulted in a confidential settlement agreement filed on March 18, 2019, with a settlement amount of $924,300, per the suit.
Gold was Fulton’s primary counsel, and Courtney was a senior attorney on the case. However, Girardi, now 83, was the owner and controlling member of their firm at the time.
According to the lawsuit, Fulton learned on July 14, 2022, through “newly discovered financial documents” where her settlement funds actually went. The documents allegedly revealed that on April 8, 2019, Fulton’s settlement check had been deposited into a Girardi & Keese bank account without her consent.
“This was a complete outright forgery as [Fulton] never endorsed this check and certainly never agreed to have it deposited,” the lawsuit claims.
“This negotiated check was in fact a forgery and a lie. The check was never held in trust but spent. It is beyond shocking and the pale that the firm would conceal the arrival of the check and not obtain Ms. Fulton’s endorsement as required by law.”
Fulton only received a total of $190,000 of her settlement between April 2019 and September 2020, according to the lawsuit, which her lawyers claim was part of Girardi’s pattern “to dupe his clients into waiting for money by dribbling small payments.” She also received an advance of $5,000, leaving a $744,300 balance, which is the amount she is seeking in damages.
Fulton’s attorneys claim there is proof that the settlement funds had been disbursed to Girardi & Keese in three separate checks: $214,000 on April 26, 2019, $1 million on April 12, 2019, and $300,000 on April 10, 2019.
Jayne, 51, is named in the lawsuit because Fulton discovered her funds were allegedly “diverted to Erika” via the “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” star’s company, EJ Global, and later transferred to Pretty Mess Inc.
Fulton believes, per the lawsuit, that Jayne and Girardi would use funds “as their own assets” to “pay for their lavish lifestyle.”
“The funds were treated as community property,” the documents allege, citing the $25 million deposited into EJ Global — for which Jayne is being sued in Girardi & Keese’s separate bankruptcy case.
“Erika used the money to pay off her expenses,” the suit claims. “For at least 12 years, all of her expenses were paid by Girardi Keese as she was generating them. No one withdrew money from the firm other than Erika Girardi.”
Ronald Richards, one of the attorneys representing Fulton, tells Page Six that his client — who dated Cage, 58, for three years beginning in 1988 and shares 31-year-old son Weston Coppola with the award-winning actor — like “many people in Hollywood trusted Tom and Erika in their legal matters.”
Richards adds that Jayne and Girardi were a “public couple who preached wealth and success.”
Ronalds, who recently announced he is looking to buy the Girardis’ former estate, further claims, “Erika profited off of these funds, which [were] used to provide content for the ‘Housewives’ show to which she was paid for. She directly received vendor payments from these funds and personally benefited from the misappropriation of our client’s settlement.”
Jayne’s attorney tells Page Six he hasn’t seen the full complaint yet, but believes that two “fundamental undisputed facts” will emerge from “all the lawsuits that try to make Erika responsible for the actions” of her estranged husband.
Evan C. Borges first notes that his client is a “non-lawyer” who had “no role” in the actions of Girardi or others dealing with the disbarred lawyer’s clients or finances, and second she “thought she was married to an extremely wealthy attorney with a financially successful law firm.”
“It’s a distraction tactic and specious for lawyers representing former [Girardi & Keese] clients to use Erika’s lifestyle and persona on a ‘Housewives’ show as an excuse to sue her,” Jayne’s attorney adds.
“The focus should be on Tom Girardi and, where supported by evidence, the lawyers, accountants, and financiers who enabled his misconduct and wrongdoing.”
The reality star currently faces a mountain of legal woes that includes a $5 million fraud lawsuit, a $50 million racketeering lawsuit and others.
She has maintained her innocence both off camera and on “RHOBH.”