Former ‘Real Housewives’ Star Sues Lawyer

     MORRISTOWN, N.J. (CN) – Former “Real Housewives of New Jersey” star Teresa Giudice, currently serving a prison sentence for fraud, claims in a lawsuit that her former bankruptcy lawyer “cost [her] her freedom” due to his malpractice during the proceedings.
     In a scathing 53-page complaint last week in Morris County Court, Giudice claims James Kridel, Jr. “demonstrated a callous indifference for [her] welfare” throughout his “grossly negligent” legal representation.
     Giudice says that “because of Defendant Kridel ‘s abysmal failure as an attorney, [she] is now in federal penitentiary and now a felon.”
     “The very lawyer retained to prepare accurate bankruptcy documents literally led his client into the cross-hairs of federal prosecutors, and a prison cell,” the complaint says.
     “Plaintiff Giudice’s bankruptcy case was the equivalent a medical malpractice case involving several botched operations in which the patient died,” it continues.
     Specifically, Giudice says Kridel “continuously filed documents that were materially inaccurate, but he permitted [her] to sign declarations under penalty of perjury that the documents were accurate.”
     Giudice says when she and her husband Giuseppe hit hard times in 2009, she was “financially unsophisticated” and claims she “knew nothing about bankruptcy.” She claims that when she and her husband initially consulted with Kridel about their options, the attorney “failed to confer with Plaintiff Giudice to discuss whether she should file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 11” or “whether a non-bankruptcy workout solution was available.”
     Guidice also alleges that “Kridel treated [her] as if she were invisible and ignored his professional duties to her as an individual client” and claims that he “treated [her] as if she were a mere appendage of her husband.”
     The crux of the lawsuit revolves around Kridel’s allegedly poor preparations of the couple’s financial statements, with the complaint saying that “prior to filing the Giudice Bankruptcy Case, Defendant Kridel failed to conduct a reasonable investigation concerning the information required to correctly fill out the Giudices’ schedules and statement of financial affairs.”
     Giudice says among the most glaring examples of Kridel’s alleged negligence is his listing her as unemployed in the original bankruptcy documents, when in fact, she was appearing on “The Real Housewives of New Jersey.”
     Even a cursory investigation would have revealed that she was employed on reality television, Giudice says.
     Other omissions included failure to report rental income the couple was receiving from a property in Lincoln Park, New Jersey, and the advance she received for a cookbook.
     Giudice also says that in December 2009, “Defendant Kridel instructed [her] to testify under oath at the Meeting of Creditors in an untruthful manner.” She says he “should not have permitted [her] to testify at the Meeting of Creditors because there was a high probability that she would be accused of committing perjury.”
     Guidice was later indicted on bankruptcy fraud charges, and after she pleaded guilty, was sentenced to fifteen months in prison, two years supervised release, and ordered to pay more than $414,500 in restitution and an $8,000 fine.
     She seeks unspecified damages for legal malpractice and breach of contract.
     Giudice is represented in the case by Carlos Cuevas of Yonkers, N.Y.
     In response to the filing, Kridel told People magazine that Giudice “went to jail because she committed crimes, which were not participated in by me. She had about 2.5 hours of testimony before she went to jail where she took full responsibility for the crimes.”
     Kridel also claimed in People that the government informed him during the bankruptcy proceedings that Giudice had failed to file tax returns for ten years and maintained that his firm “did everything we were supposed to” during her bankruptcy.
     “We didn’t falsify a W2 for her, her tax returns, or not file them. These were supposed to be done by people other than us. To say that we participated is ridiculous,” Kridel said.
     Radar Online reported last month that Giudice, who is scheduled to be released from prison in December, would like to return to the ‘Real Housewives’ set for their upcoming seventh season.
     However, a source claims the probation department has been reluctant to approve Bravo as Teresa’s employer and employment, which was a term of her release.

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