I-Team: Company seeks millions from Tony Hsieh’s estate, some for ‘Magic Castle,’ project included traveling magicians

I-Team Special Reports

Las Vegas entrepreneur dies in 2020 fire

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A Texas-based travel and wellness company is seeking millions of dollars of former Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh’s estate as part of a newly filled claim.

The Wellth Collective, which on its website describes itself as a company that creates and hosts fitness events and experiences across the world, filed a creditor’s claim Monday for nearly $9 million.

Hsieh, 46, died in a house fire in November 2020 in Connecticut. In December, a judge named his father, Richard Hsieh, and brother, Andrew Hsieh, as special administrators to his estate since the entrepreneur did not have a will.

Hsieh was worth an estimated $840 million, documents filed in court as part of two lawsuits against his estate said earlier this year.

Susan “Suzie” Baleson, who in court documents is named as the owner of Wellth, said she met Hsieh in 2012 on a job interview. Baleson then worked with Hsieh, the Resort Gaming Group and the Downtown Project to help revitalize downtown Las Vegas, the claim said.

Baleson’s notes about the Magic Castle project as provided in the creditor’s claim. (KLAS)

Baleson said she left Resort Gaming Group in 2013 and was hired as a consultant for Zappos. She also worked with Hsieh on projects in Park City, Utah, where Hsieh was buying real estate and developing other businesses.

The claim filed Monday includes nearly $500,000 in expenses, nearly $8 million in outstanding payments, the bulk of which comes from real estate, and about $450,000 in damages from another contract, documents said.

Notes on proposed ideas include a project called the Magic Castle, which was to include live-streaming, open bars and traveling magicians inside a Park City, Utah, venue, notes in the claim indicate.

According to a creditor’s claim filed in June, Mark Evensvold is petitioning for $12.5 million as part of a contract he entered with Hsieh in Park City to help with bars, security and project management. His job brought in a $450,000 salary, the claim said.

Due to redactions in court documents, it is unclear exactly what Hsieh intended to do with the Magic Castle, though a document attached to the claim indicates it may have been a coworking space for his project managers at OP Rockwell, a Park City music venue. It is also unclear how much Wellth spent on the project after Hsieh’s death.

Post-It notes with information about the Magic Castle project as provided in the creditor’s claim. (KLAS)

According to a conversation transcribed in Evensvold’s claim and provided in Baleson’s claim, Hsieh envisioned a 24/7 working space with open bars.

“OP Rockwell is — well it’s two parts, the top two floors, the working space and the Top Shop is under Suzie and then the bottom floor is Magic Castle which is Jen and Bill,” Hsieh reportedly told Evensvold about the project. “We have multiple bars. And then work on random projects like koi fish and tree houses.”

A cash flow projection, including the Magic Castle and OP Rockwell projects, provided in the creditor’s claim. (KLAS)

The Evensvold deal was made on a Post-It note.

While Hsieh lived in Las Vegas, he had bought up several properties and was living most of the last year of his life in Park City.

“The Wellth Collective claim is straightforward and realistic in that it seeks payment for services performed and actual expenditures, and is based on valid contractual agreements,” attorney Mark Semer, who represents Wellth Collective, said in a statement. “It does not seek payment for future, unperformed services, or for any other reason. This party simply wants to be compensated for what it did for Mr. Hsieh in the past and, therefore, is legitimately owed.”

In court filings earlier this year, Hsieh’s family said he suffered from social anxiety. The family writes in court documents that Hsieh used “alcohol as a social lubricant to alleviate his social anxiety.” The family also said doctors prescribed Hsieh with Adderall, Xanax and Ambien.

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