A tragic tech CEO feared he’d turn into crystal, announced plans to open a theme park where visitors could pay with seashells, and spent $30 million on ice castle projects in the weeks before his drug-related death in a fire.
Tony Hsieh’s disturbed state of mind was revealed in court documents filed Wednesday as family members squabbled over his $500million estate.
Hsieh, who started online retailer Zappos and then sold it to Amazon, died in a fire inside a storage room at his girlfriend Rachel Brown’s Connecticut mansion in November 2020. He n was only 46 years old.
And now it has been revealed he was consuming up to 50 cartridges of nitrous oxide – also known as whippets – a day, after also taking horse tranquilizer ketamine.
Hsieh was found unconscious in a shed next to his girlfriend’s home in Connecticut in November 2020. He had argued with Rachael Brown and had gone to sleep in the shed – taking a propane heater, blankets with him and whippets. This suit had started a fire, with Hsieh dying in hospital from smoke inhalation nine days later.
Hsieh left no will indicating how his fortune – estimated by the Wall Street Journal at $500 million – should be distributed. His family and associates are currently fighting to gain access to his money in court.
On Wednesday, court documents in the fight for his estate revealed his confused state of mind – with $30million spent on plans to build an ice castle and boathouse, and hallucinations compounded by a ketamine habit worsening with “whippets”.
Hsieh also owed $250 million to his creditors at the time of his death, but despite this debt, he still appears to have left a huge fortune behind.
Tony Hseih died in November 2020, aged 46, leaving behind a fortune of $500 million and no will. His family and associates are now arguing in court over access to the funds
Hsieh, who amassed vast wealth selling shoe company Zappos to Amazon in a $1.2 billion deal, died last November after barricading himself in a swimming pool shelter in New London , Connecticut (right) which then caught fire.
A fire marshal’s report said Hsieh had lit candles, a propane heater, whippit nitrous oxide chargers, a whipped cream dispenser, a marijuana pipe and liquor bottles with him at the time of his attack. the fire.
The month before his death, the Taiwanese-American millionaire “was taken to the emergency room after saying he believed he was ‘crystallizing,’ believed he was in a simulation, he had chewed cigarettes and professed, ‘I just don’t know what’s real and what’s not,’ lawyers wrote in court documents obtained by Las Vegas outlet 8 News Now .
Hsieh moved Zappos’ headquarters to Las Vegas and was instrumental in revitalizing the city’s downtown.
Lawyers for Hsieh’s estate, in the Vegas court battle, argued that he lacked the mental capacity to sign agreements and agreements leading to his death.
They cited as an example his plans for a theme park where seashells would be used instead of money.
Lawyers noted that in the year before his death, Hsieh was drawn to drugs – first ketamine, which in large doses can cause hallucinations, then nitrous oxide.
Tony Lee, Hsieh’s chief financial officer who is suing the estate for $7million, claimed in court papers that Hsieh’s brother Andy supplied him with drugs – denying he himself was responsible for the decline of the tycoon.
Andrew Hsieh (far left), the brother of late Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh (far right), has been accused of taking advantage of his struggling brother to ‘get rich’ and supplying him drugs as he fell into addiction, in a petition filed by chief financial officer Tony Lee (centre)
The family’s legal filing describes how Hsieh’s living conditions became increasingly hellish as he deteriorated mentally and physically. He is pictured above in June 2020
“The evidence in this case will show that Andy, and not Lee or the other Estate scapegoats, engaged in much of the despicable conduct of which he and the Estate accuse Lee in the Estate’s pleading.” , Lee’s attorneys wrote in their court documents. .
“As an illustration, it was Andy who arranged for the purchase of thousands of nitrous oxide cartridges at an alarming rate for Tony Hsieh’s continued use when others who cared for Mr. Hsieh refused to do so.
“It was Andy who knocked out Tony Hsieh with alcohol during Mr. Hsieh’s final months (when he knew Mr. Hsieh had cirrhosis).
“And it was Andy who repeatedly tried relentlessly to enrich himself financially by even asking the director of Pelagic to divert millions of dollars from Tony Hsieh’s holdings to Andy himself.”
Wednesday’s court documents provided more details about Hsieh’s addictions, with friends claiming Hsieh used “up to 50 cartridges of nitrous oxide a day, often in public or in ‘meetings’ with people.”
Estate lawyers claim Hsieh was not in his right mind – noting he signed a $30million contract for a man to ‘operate a boat bar and an ice castle’.
He also bought the Zappos headquarters “for nearly $40 million more than it was worth.”
The new documents also deny that Andy Hsieh encouraged his brother’s drug use – instead insisting that he weaned him off the substances.
“Andy Hsieh acted as a nitrous oxide supplier to his brother in order to monitor and limit the amount his brother consumed over time,” the court documents state.
“Andy Hsieh also worked with and coordinated security to perform drug sweeps of the house and buses whenever you travel and to clear drugs.
“For example, on Tony Hsieh’s first trip to Connecticut, Andy Hsieh and the security team discovered that one of the travelers was supplying Tony Hsieh with drugs in order for that person to be escorted off the bus.”