I-Team: Tony Hsieh’s former assistant asks court for $130M+, says late entrepreneur named cousin as power of attorney

I-Team

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Former Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh’s longtime assistant and friend, Jennifer “Mimi” Pham, has filed several updated creditors’ claims in court, asking a judge to grant her millions as part of contracts with several businesses, according to documents obtained by the I-Team.

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

Pham’s attorneys filed the amended claims in her name and under the names of three of her businesses.

In court filings, Pham claims Hsieh gave power of attorney to Connie Yeh. Previous reports have indicated Yeh is Hsieh’s cousin. The signed document indicates the power of attorney began in October 2017 and was to expire in 2030.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – OCTOBER 08: Mimi Pham and Zappos.com CEO Tony Hsieh attend the Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit Cockatil Party on October 8, 2014 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images for Vanity Fair)

In the two lawsuits filed in February, Pham claims she is owed some of Hsieh’s “vast fortune” for work she performed on his behalf, documents said. The lawsuits estimated Hsieh’s wealth at $840 million. According to the lawsuits, the duo was so close, Hsieh used Pham’s cell phone as his own. The lawsuits also claim Hsieh and Pham used the same address.

In updated documents filed Friday, Pham claims she is owed $1.4 million as part of a deal to pay her $30,000 a day for her services through an LLC called Rove & Whim. The I-Team previously reported the company listed its contractually obligated tasks with Hsieh as “project related services” and “personal assistance services.”

In addition to the $1.4 million, the filing claims Rove & Whim is owned an additional $180,000 for other agreements.

Through another company, Baby Monster, LLC, lawyers claim Pham and her company are owed more than $7 million through a company of Hsieh’s.

A new claim also asks for $20,000,000 from Hsieh’s estate “for interfering” with a prior agreement. The claim also asks for $400,000 in fees from retrofitting a bus and “vendor services.”

Pham’s third company, Mr. Taken, LLC, seeks $75 million as part of an anticipated profit through Hsieh’s entertainment company based in Utah. In addition, Mr. Taken, LLC, seeks $25 million for “interference with the contract and the prospective economic advantage.” The I-Team previously reported the company’s intent to produce a documentary.

The claims through Mr. Taken also seek all profits generated by the Big Moose Yacht Club in Park City and the sale of a property there. The total amount now exceeds $130 million.

In some overlap, Pham seeks indemnity from the state regarding all third-party claims worth $82.5 million.

Hsieh’s family claims some people in his inner circle allowed him to enter into contracts even as his health deteriorated due to longtime substance misuse, court records said. In court filings, 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.

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.

In an unrelated creditor’s claim, a Texas-based travel and wellness company is seeking nearly $9 million for payments lawyers said it is owned. One unfinished project is a so-called Magic Castle coworking space with open bars and magicians, documents said.

In November 2019, Hsieh’s family said he began to experiment with ketamine, which in high doses can lead to hallucinations, they said. Soon after, Hsieh began to misuse ketamine, causing “Tony to suffer from disorganized delusions and delusions of grandeur,” they write in court documents. One example the family gives is Hsieh’s belief that all humans were living in a simulation called the “simulation hypothesis.”

Inside the shed where Tony Hsieh slept the night of the fire. (KLAS)

Court documents also said Hsieh’s bedroom was “littered with hundreds of spent nitrous oxide cartridges.”

“Tony’s true friends, not interested in profiting from Tony’s condition, became increasingly concerned about Tony’s health and many were looking for ways to get Tony professional help,” court documents said. “Unfortunately, in the months since Tony had left the rehabilitation facility, several less scrupulous people prominently occupied Tony’s attention and were living large, all at Tony’s expense.”

A longtime friend contacted Hsieh’s parents and brother in the summer of 2020, believing “Tony’s death was imminent” and that he had lost a large amount of weight.

In October 2020, Hsieh’s brother became so concerned about his brother’s health, he asked that “vitamins and protein supplements” be slipped into his food. Andrew Hsieh had been offered a $1 million salary to take care of his brother at the time, previous court records said.

I-Team: Tony Hsieh paid assistant’s company $30,000 a day, claim made for $9M in latest filings 

Richard Hsieh hired an addiction specialist to travel to his son’s home, but the specialist was denied access to the residence, court documents said. It was around this time that Hsieh resigned as Zappos CEO.

Hsieh traveled to Connecticut in early November 2020. On the night of the fire, Hsieh had retreated to a shed at the home after a fight with his girlfriend and was using a propane heater to stay warm before the fire that killed him, investigators said earlier this year. Hsieh was in a storage room with a 20-pound propane tank at the time.

According to witness reports, Hsieh was lying in a storage area with a blanket near candles. Part of the blanket and a plastic bag had caught fire earlier in the night, a report obtained by the I-Team said.

Lawyers for Pham and others named in the court documents have not commented. A spokesperson for Hsieh’s family has repeatedly declined to comment on the ongoing legal matters.

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