The State Bar of California acknowledged Thursday that its investigators had mishandled years of complaints against disgraced legal titan and “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” cast member Tom Girardi.
The stunning public admission comes after a Times investigation published in March described how Girardi had kept his law license pristine despite more than 100 lawsuits against him and his firm, many of them alleging misappropriation of funds. The article detailed how Girardi cultivated close relationships with bar employees by treating them to wine-soaked lunches at Morton’s, casino parties in Las Vegas and private plane rides.
The regulatory agency’s Board of Trustees said in a news release Thursday that an internal audit of the L.A. power broker’s file at 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 conducted recently by an outside consultant “identified significant issues” in the “investigation and evaluation of high-dollar, high volume trust accounts,” the bar said.
The announcement was highly unusual for the bar, which rarely comments on its investigations, and a testament to how thoroughly the downfall of the wealthy and politically connected Girardi has shaken the legal community and the agency tasked with policing it.
The 82-year-old attorney seemed an immutable force in the plaintiff’s bar in…