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Tony Hsieh’s estate reaches settlement with the late Zappos CEO’s former associate

Tony Hsieh
via Inc.

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    A case filed by Tony Hsieh’s former financial manager and longtime friend, Tony Lee, against Hsieh’s estate in April 2021 has been settled, according to court records.

    The lawsuit, which was dismissed with prejudice last week, alleged that the late Zappos CEO had breached a contract by failing to pay Lee nearly $7 million for his work related to projects planned in Park City, Utah. According to Lee, Hsieh agreed to pay him $1.5 million a year for five years of work.

    Although Lee’s lawyers claimed that the value of the creditor’s claim could be over $16.8 million, the settlement amount was not disclosed in the court order signed by District Judge Mark Denton. 

    Since Hsieh died at the age of 46 in November 2020 from injuries sustained in a house fire, his relatives and business associates have been accusing each other of taking advantage of him financially.

    A legal battle over his estate eventually ensued, with lawyers claiming that Hsieh suffered from lack of sleep, malnourishment and hallucinations from ketamine and nitrous oxide use in his last few years. 

    Prior to Hsieh’s death, his line of credit had purportedly reached $250 million amid plans for several projects that included “Country Zero,” a cashless theme park to be built in Park City.

    In the closed lawsuit, Lee accused Tony’s brother, Andrew Hsieh, of using the estate’s money to pay himself “several million” dollars, including $200,000 for a new Mercedes and $100,000 for a “personal nutritionist and training plan.”

    Andrew, on the other hand, claimed that he set trips for his brother to leave Park City as his behavior worsened to “be away from the people who were exploiting him and enabling his continued decline.” He also claimed that when he was away from Park City, he was able to stop his brother from using drugs.

    Tony Hsieh’s family, for their part, alleged that Lee was one of the multiple business associates who encouraged Hsieh to pursue “impulsive, poorly planned” or “incoherent” investments in Park City. 

    Lee’s lawsuit was just one of several creditor’s claims against Hsieh’s estate, which is currently worth an estimated $513 million.

    Jennifer “Mimi” Pham, Hsieh’s assistant, reached a settlement agreement with the family in January 2022, agreeing to pay $750,000 instead of millions of dollars in creditors’ claims. 

    Other creditors’ claims include an $8.7 million claim from a Texas-based travel, fitness and wellness company for consulting work, a $40,000 claim for a custom “ceiling brain prototype” and a $12.5 million claim from a man who has a loosely defined job title that included working on “random projects like koi fish or tree houses.”


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