Tony Hsieh’s brother supplied him with nitrous oxide cannisters, new filing claim  


Late Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh’s brother supplied him with drugs, ‘plied’ him with alcohol and ‘tried to enrich himself financially’ by ‘diverting millions of dollars’ from his vulnerable sibling’s accounts, excoriating court documents claim.

A vicious legal battle is raging over the hundreds of millions of dollars left by the eccentric entrepreneur without a will following his death from a shed fire last November after an alleged dramatic spiral into addiction and paranoid delusions.

Hsieh’s personal assistant Jennifer ‘Mimi’ Pham sued his $840million estate earlier this year for $93million in ‘expected profits’ from business ventures with her boss and friend.

Andrew Hsieh (far left), the brother of late Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh (far right), has been accused of taking advantage of his troubled sibling to 'enrich himself' and supplying him with drugs as he spiraled into addiction, in a motion filed by financial manager Tony Lee (center)

Andrew Hsieh (far left), the brother of late Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh (far right), has been accused of taking advantage of his troubled sibling to ‘enrich himself’ and supplying him with drugs as he spiraled into addiction, in a motion filed by financial manager Tony Lee (center) 

The family of late Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh had filed a counter complaint against his assistant, Mimi Pham (pictured together in 2014) her boyfriend, and his financial manager Tony Lee, accusing them of exploiting the his drug addiction to 'squeeze' him out of millions in his final weeks

According to documents, Hsieh offered friend Tony Lee (pictured) double his salary to leave his job and join him in Park City, Utah as a financial manager.

The family of Tony Hsieh filed a counter complaint in August against his assistant, Mimi Pham (pictured together in 2014) her boyfriend, and Tony Lee (right) accusing them of exploiting the his drug addiction to ‘squeeze’ him out of millions in his final weeks

This week DailyMail.com revealed Hsieh’s father Richard and brother Andrew had hit back with a slew of counterclaims in August accusing Pham, her lawyer boyfriend Roberto Grande, and a financial manager Tony Lee of ‘abuse of fiduciary relationship’, preying on Hsieh’s vulnerable, drug-addled state to ‘exploit’, ‘manipulate’ and ‘squeeze’ him out of millions in his final weeks.

Pham denied all the claims in a court filing, but did not comment further.

However, documents exclusively obtained by DailyMail.com show Lee has responded with his own shocking claims, alleging Andrew was the one taking advantage of his own brother with ‘despicable conduct’.

In an October 11 filing, lawyers representing Lee’s company Pelagic LLC accused Andrew of arranging the supply of nitrous oxide canisters to his brother.

According to the Hsieh family, in his final months the former Zappos CEO was inhaling up to 50 ‘whippit’ canisters a day as well as abusing ketamine, leaving him drug-addled and suffering from paranoid delusions.

‘The evidence in this case is going to show that Andy, not Lee or the Estate’s other cast of scapegoats, engaged in much of the despicable conduct he and the Estate accuse Lee of in the Estate’s pleading,’ Lee’s lawyers wrote in their court documents.

Hsieh's family are also denying Lee's claims to a total $7million which he says was guaranteed by his contract. But documents obtained by DailyMail.com from an anonymous source show Andrew asking Lee for his paystubs - after his brother allegedly offered to double Lee's salary to come work for him

Hsieh’s family are also denying Lee’s claims to a total $7million which he says was guaranteed by his contract. But documents obtained by DailyMail.com from an anonymous source show Andrew asking Lee for his paystubs – after his brother allegedly offered to double Lee’s salary to come work for him

Screenshots of messages show Lee being introduced to Pham and her lawyer boyfriend Roberto Grande, with Hsieh also copied in on the conversation on August 9, 2020

 Screenshots of messages show Lee being introduced to Pham and her lawyer boyfriend Roberto Grande, with Hsieh also copied in on the conversation on August 9, 2020

In another text exchange from the same day, Andrew texted his brother a photo of sticky notes on a wall, appearing to show a plan for hiring Lee

In another text exchange from the same day, Andrew texted his brother a photo of sticky notes on a wall, appearing to show a plan for hiring Lee

‘As an illustration, it was Andy that arranged for the purchase of thousands of canisters of nitrous oxide at an alarming rate for Tony Hsieh’s continued use when others who cared for Mr. Hsieh refused to do so.

‘It was Andy that plied Tony Hsieh with alcohol during Mr. Hsieh’s final months (despite knowing that Mr. Hsieh suffered from cirrhosis). And, it was Andy who, on multiple occasions, relentlessly tried to enrich himself financially by even asking the manager of Pelagic to divert millions of dollars from Tony Hsieh’s holdings to Andy himself.

‘Andy tried to also coerce Tony Hsieh’s other friends to ask Mr. Hsieh for $50million for a tequila company that did not exist as late as October 2020.’

Lee is a financial manager who was working for the prominent Texas businessman and philanthropist Ed Bass and his family.

He had been friends with Hsieh since 2003, and was even asked by Andrew to be his best man.

Last summer, Hsieh offered Lee double his salary to leave the Basses and join him in Park City, Utah as a financial manager.

The Hsieh family alleged in their counterclaims against Pham that she arranged the appointment via her company, Baby Monster LLC, and Hsieh’s firm, PCVI, guaranteeing three years of pay at a $1.5million salary and taking 10 per cent commission for herself.

They then later tried to extend it to a five-year contract after Lee became fully aware of Hsieh’s vulnerable state, Richard and Andrew allege. 

The family's legal filing described how Hsieh's living conditions became increasingly hellish as he spiraled mentally and physically. He is pictured above in June 2020

The family’s legal filing described how Hsieh’s living conditions became increasingly hellish as he spiraled mentally and physically. He is pictured above in June 2020

Hsieh, who had amassed vast wealth selling shoe company Zappos to Amazon in a $1.2billion deal, died last November after barricading himself in a pool shed in New London, Connecticut (on the right) which later went up in flames

Hsieh, who had amassed vast wealth selling shoe company Zappos to Amazon in a $1.2billion deal, died last November after barricading himself in a pool shed in New London, Connecticut (on the right) which later went up in flames 

A report by the fire marshal found that Hsieh had lit candles, a propane heater, whippit nitrous oxide chargers, whip cream dispenser, a marijuana pipe, and bottles of alcohol with him at the time of the blaze

A report by the fire marshal found that Hsieh had lit candles, a propane heater, whippit nitrous oxide chargers, whip cream dispenser, a marijuana pipe, and bottles of alcohol with him at the time of the blaze

The family claimed Hsieh was in no fit state to agree to the expensive arrangement and are denying Lee’s claims to a total $7million which he says was guaranteed by his contract.

But in Lee’s fiery legal response, he says that it was in fact Andrew who ‘pushed harder than anyone’ for the deal – and that the brother tried to extract commission too.

‘Also missing from the Estate’s deceptive and violative pleading is the fact that Andy himself pushed harder than anyone for [Lee’s company] Pelagic to enter into the agreement with BabyMonster and PCVI,’ Lee’s lawyers wrote.

‘Andy stood to earn hundreds of thousands of dollars in commission from his own brother if he secured the very agreement he now seeks to rescind.

‘That was a means for Andy to siphon money from his brother while he was alive. Now that Mr. Hsieh has passed away, Andy has switched gears and seeks to abscond with his brother’s estate by other means, i.e., attempting to unwind legitimate contracts to inflate his eventual inheritance.’

The filing by Lee’s lawyers asks Clark County, Nevada Judge Susan Johnson to dismiss the Hsieh family’s counterclaims, slamming them as ‘salacious allegations’ which ‘further offer up innocent associates of Tony Hsieh… as villains.’

In legal documents Lee’s attorneys denied any ‘eleventh-hour scramble to exploit and embezzle Tony Hsieh as his health faded’ and claimed Hsieh had in fact been trying to hire Lee since 2003, and that the money manager turned down an even more extravagant salary of $3million offered by Hsieh so as not to exploit his friend.

Documents obtained by DailyMail.com from an anonymous source show Andrew does appear to have been involved in Lee’s hiring. 

 

Shocking emails obtained by DailyMail.com also show one of Hsieh's employees appeared to buy thousands of dollars of nitrous oxide whippits for the ailing near-billionaire

Shocking emails obtained by DailyMail.com also show one of Hsieh’s employees appeared to buy thousands of dollars of nitrous oxide whippits for the ailing near-billionaire

Newly-unearthed photos obtained by DailyMail.com show the near-billionaire had grown emaciated in the months leading up to his death. A June 2020 photo shows a slim Hsieh with canisters of nitrous oxide know as 'whippits' on the table to his right

Newly-unearthed photos obtained by DailyMail.com show the near-billionaire had grown emaciated in the months leading up to his death. A June 2020 photo shows a slim Hsieh with canisters of nitrous oxide know as ‘whippits’ on the table to his right

Texts from July 28, 2020 show Andrew asking Lee for his paystubs – after his brother allegedly offered to double Lee’s salary to come work for him.

Lee replies: ‘Here is my earnings so far this year. I am making over a $1mil in 2020.’

In another text exchange from the same day, Andrew texted his brother a photo of sticky notes on a wall, appearing to show a plan for hiring Lee.

Below a note saying ‘Tony Lee’, the notes say ‘come onboard’, ‘2x current salary, 1.4m/1.5m, 100k increase per year’, ‘manage investments, finance, personal, business’, ‘wants to work with Andy’, ‘only work b/c Andy here; wants Andy as broker’, ‘needs to know ASAP’, and ‘needs to tell Ed Bass, Sasha [Bass’ wife]’.

Screenshots of messages show Lee being introduced to Pham and Grande, with Hsieh also copied in on the conversation on August 9, 2020 – two weeks after the conversations between Andrew and Lee.

‘MESSGE [sic] FROM TONY LEE THIS MORNING – Good morning Mimi. Let’s use 7/24/20 as the contract date as I have been working for Tony since that date. This has turned into a full time job,’ Pham wrote in the chat, titled ‘M&A Tony Lee’.

Lee’s message outlined his financial plans for Hsieh’s $20million hot air balloon business venture starting in Park City and expanding to Las Vegas, Nevada then across the US over the following 12 months.

This photo, provided by the New London, Connecticut Fire Department, shows fire damage inside a storage shed where Tony Hsieh died on November 18, 2020

This photo, provided by the New London, Connecticut Fire Department, shows fire damage inside a storage shed where Tony Hsieh died on November 18, 2020

Hsieh was staying at his girlfriend Rachael Brown's home, and had gotten into an argument with her the night of the fire about the cleanliness of the house, according to a friend

Hsieh was staying at his girlfriend Rachael Brown’s home, and had gotten into an argument with her the night of the fire about the cleanliness of the house, according to a friend

‘Tony meet Roberto who is also on this chat,’ Pham wrote. ‘I also included Tony [Hsieh] even though he is not on electronics for tracking purposes should he ever need to reference our conversations.’

At the time Hsieh was allegedly on a ‘technology detox’, letting his assistants handle all his communications.

Lee replied: ‘The hot air balloon industry is highly fragmented ran by single owner operators. As a result, it will take time to meet the operators individually in all the hot cities Tony prefers. But in some ways, it’s fun dealing with mom and pop businesses.’

Shocking emails obtained by DailyMail.com also show Hsieh’s associates appearing to buy thousands of dollars of nitrous oxide whippits for the ailing near-billionaire.

On September 4, 2020 Hsieh’s assistant Suzie Baleson wrote to Pham notifying her that one of Hsieh’s workers had several invoices due.

‘[The employee] is now helping at ranch, mostly on Andy, erica and Tony direct requests,’ Baleson wrote. 

‘Go forward he will be making $1400 a week for 10 hours 6 days a week or $23 ish an hour. A contract is in the works.’

Three weeks later Pham emailed the employee questioning some of his expense receipts labelled ‘miscellaneous charges’.

‘Please give me more context for the charge and such since all charges need to be accounted for. $3,138.70 was miscellaneous charges,’ she wrote on September 25 2020.

‘These are for the whip-it,’ the worker replied. ‘I was told by Suzie to turn them into Elizabeth to pay but she never sent the funds. I would prefer not to send them through my company. Can I send an invoice through [redacted].’

It is unclear if the alleged nitrous oxide purchase was reimbursed.

Tony Lee (left) had been friends with Hsieh since 2003, and was even asked by Andrew (right) to be his best man. Lee claims it was Andrew who 'pushed harder than anyone' for Pelagic to enter into an agreement with Hsieh's company – and that the brother tried to extract commission too

Andrew Hsieh

Lee (left) had been friends with Hsieh since 2003, and was even asked by Andrew (right) to be his best man. Lee claims it was Andrew who ‘pushed harder than anyone’ for Pelagic to enter into an agreement with Hsieh’s company – and that the brother tried to extract commission too

The filing by Lee's lawyers asks Clark County, Nevada Judge Susan Johnson to dismiss the Hsieh family's counterclaims, slamming them as 'salacious allegations'

The filing by Lee’s lawyers asks Clark County, Nevada Judge Susan Johnson to dismiss the Hsieh family’s counterclaims, slamming them as ‘salacious allegations’

Hsieh’s worker who emailed an invoice for the $3,138.70 whippit purchase did not respond to a request for comment. 

Although the Hsieh family accused Pham, Grande and Lee of trying to take advantage of Hsieh’s vulnerable state and loot his riches, his reported $840million estate is also set to take a hit from Richard and Andrew’s own administration fees and legal costs.

Court filings by the Hsieh estate asking the judge for approval of legal costs show the brother and father are asking to take $1million each in administration fees from the estate.

Their lawyer, Vivian Thoreen, asked for nearly $2million in attorney’s fees and is charging $1,500 per hour.

Thoreen and the Hsieh family’s other lawyers also did not respond to DailyMail.com’s request for comment. 

Thoreen was lead counsel for Britney Spears’ father Jamie until she reportedly dropped him as a client this month. 

Court filings by the Hsieh estate asking the judge for approval of legal costs show the brother and father are asking to take $1million each in administration fees from the estate

Court filings by the Hsieh estate asking the judge for approval of legal costs show the brother and father are asking to take $1million each in administration fees from the estate

Jamie infamously kept his daughter under a conservatorship, managing her day-to-day life and multi-million-dollar finances for years, until a judge stripped him of his role in September. 

The Hsieh family wrote in their August counterclaim against Pham that they had also tried to place him under a ‘guardianship’ for his protection last year.

‘Andy began working with two of Tony’s longtime friends who are experienced in mental health to develop a plan for initiating a guardianship for Tony if he were hospitalized again,’ their legal filing said.

‘Tony’s father and several of Tony’s longtime friends paid for an addiction specialist to fly to Park City in the hopes of staging a voluntary – involuntary – intervention.

‘The addiction specialist was denied access to Tony’s residence.’ 



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Written by Bourbiza Mohamed

A technology enthusiast and a passionate writer in the field of information technology, cyber security, and blockchain

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