California Bar Issues Girardi Letter

The California Bar has issued a report on its own handling of Tom Girardi, who was disbarred last year. The report includes a chart of all 205 complaints that were filed against Girardi during his career, three of which resulted in his disbarment. The names of the claimants are not disclosed. The type of complaint and the disposition is recorded.

There were numerous matters described as “failure to account, deposit” going back many years. These appear to be complaints from clients who were concerned that Girardi had not accounted for funds in his possession. There were insufficient funds notices for his trust account going all the way back to 2006. Girardi appears to have had so much clout that no one would investigate him. Had the California Bar forced him to disclose his trust account transactions in 1985 or 2006, it is possible that many clients would have been protected.

This entry in the report from 1985 is alarming:

85‐O‐12626 5/31/1985 2/6/1987 Failure to account, deposit; failure to perform, delay,
abandonment of client.

Closed ‐‐ Investigation ‐‐ Insufficient Evidence

So, it took the Bar almost 19 months to determine whether or not Girardi had failed to account for a client’s funds.

The most serious problem here is that there were several complaints against Girardi, going back to 1985, in which his failure to promptly to pay clients was an issue. This case is reminiscent of the Madoff Ponzi scheme in which a trusted financial advisor was able to fool securities regulators for many years before he eventually ran out of money.

Ed Clinton, Jr.

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