Bankruptcy, Celebrities, Fame Brief, Reality TV, Television

Fame Brief: Is the Giudices’ $60K Post-Bankruptcy Spree Legal?

Ed. note: Welcome to ATL’s new column, Fame Brief. Since Kash has left the building, Marin, ATL’s other lady-in-waiting, will be picking up her celebrity beat and filling you in on the latest celebrity legal shenanigans. Before you fall over yourself to post an annoying comment about how this blog be sinking or how nobody cares about celebrities, consider that our celebrity posts are some of the most popular ones on here. So SOMEBODY out there cares about celebrities….

When I got my first credit card, my dad was afraid I’d go hog wild and buy a suit of armor, sconces, breast implants, decorative fireplace accessories, a foosball table, IVF treatments, a boat and a monstrous “Tuscan villa” McMansion in Towaco, NJ. But at least I’m making payments on these purchases, unlike Joe and Teresa Giudice of the Real Housewives of New Jersey, who filed for Chapter 7 back in October 2009….

The profoundly tacky couple claimed $10.85 million in debt, including all of the above expenses, as well as:

Credit Cards
including $20,000 to Bloomingdale’s, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom

$1,280 monthly payment for Cadillac Escalade


for eight mortgages on three homes (two have been handed back to lenders)

$5.8M Joe’s business investments

$85,600 Home repairs

$12,000 Fertility treatments

$2,300 Phone bill

Embarrassed about her finances and hopefully mortified about filling her house with sconces, Spanish-style chandeliers, suits of armor and other Olive Garden crap, Encino Man Teresa called bankruptcy a “fresh start” for the profoundly ignorant couple. But apparently Teresa only meant that she was freshly starting to redecorate, because last week it came to light, when the Giudices attempted to block an auction of their possessions in Bankruptcy Court, that Joe and Teresa continue to have zero regard for their creditors:

The receipts show that within days of filing to wipe out their multimillion-dollar debt, the Giudices blew $8,800 for curtains and nearly $45,000 on wall hangings, mirrors, frames, tables, urns and chairs…

I get that the whole purpose of bankruptcy is that you’re supposed to stop getting creditor calls and not have credit cards and be a loser for a while. But spending $60K DAYS after you’ve essentially defrauded creditors – even creditors who sell onyx furniture – is abhorrent. And Judge Morris Stern legally can’t do anything about it, as he said himself, because “it’s not for this court to tell people how to spend their money” earned after bankruptcy.

Well, if the court doesn’t have such power, it’s actually time to take the Bankruptcy Code, walk to the nearest window and throw it out. I will most certainly be telling this to Morris when I see him in synagogue in a few weeks, not that I know what he looks like or if he even goes to my temple. But still.

What’s worse is that the Giudices’ attorney, James Kridel, apparently CONDONED her spending… because it would prevent those  pesky creditors from recouping their money!

“That was the money she earned as an advance for her book Skinny Italian,” her attorney Jim Kridel tells PEOPLE. “Since she earned it after the filing, she was absolutely free to spend it.”

And, he says, the Real Housewives of New Jersey star was wise to do so.

“If she put it in the bank, they’d say, ‘Why don’t you pay your creditors,’ and the trustee might freeze the assets while he investigates whether she can spend it or not,” Kridel says.

Ugh, I can’t go on. This profession is going to hell. Can someone tell me if this violates some kind of professional ethics code? Or if Bankruptcy Court, Night Court, or the Star Chamber can do anything to stop this crap?

(hidden for your protection)

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