LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — New court documents in a lawsuit involving late Las Vegas entrepreneur Tony Hsieh’s wealth once again detail the former Zappos CEO’s state of mind in his final months alive.
Hsieh died in a house fire in November 2020 in Connecticut. He was 46. In December 2020, a judge named his father and brother as special administrators of his estate, since he did not have a will.
According to a creditor’s claim filed in 2021, Mark Evensvold said he is owed $12.5 million as part of a contract he entered with Hsieh at a Park City, Utah, property to help with bars, security and project management. His job brought in a $450,000 salary and a 20 percent interest in Nacho Daddy, the lawsuit said.
Previous court filings have said the contract was on a Post-It note. In addition, Evensvold signed an independent contractor and confidentiality agreement in September 2020, a lawsuit said.
Lawyers for Hsieh’s estate have repeatedly written in court documents that Hsieh did not have the mental capacity to sign off on contracts in the months and years leading up to his death.
Court documents filed by Hsieh’s family have indicated Hsieh used ketamine and nitrous oxide in the years before his death. According to friends, Hsieh used “as many as 50 cartridges of nitrous oxide a day, often in public, or during ‘meetings’ with people,” documents said. Court documents also said Hsieh’s bedroom was “littered with hundreds of spent nitrous oxide cartridges.”
While Hsieh had lived in Las Vegas, he had purchased several properties and was living most of the last year of his life in Park City, Utah. Previous court filings have estimated his wealth at nearly $850 million.
“He spent most of his time in his bedroom on his bed and conducted ‘business meetings’ in his underwear,” lawyers wrote in the recent filing in the Evensvold case. “Tony was emaciated. His room was covered in nonsensical sticky notes, stale food, and animal feces.”
Hsieh was planning what he called the Park City Project — a ranch where visitors would be “centered around the idea of no shoes, no tech, and no obligations,” lawyers said. According to court documents, Hsieh referred to the park as “Disneyland 2.0” and “County Zero.”
Evensvold visited Hsieh in Park City in August 2020 to discuss working on the project, lawyers said.
“On August 14, 2020 — just five days before Evensvold’s next meeting with Tony — the medical doctor concluded that Tony suffered either from drug-induced psychosis or schizophrenia and likely had ongoing substance abuse issues,” lawyers for the estate said.
Hsieh was reportedly working on a beach as part of a “natural dishwasher” project, lawyers said.
“Around this same time, one of the owners of Nacho Daddy and his wife, and their 3-week-old baby also visited Tony in Park City,” lawyers said. “Upon their arrival, they saw Tony on the ‘beach’ of his Ranch, in his underwear, digging in the mud, with ink writing all over his body, smoking canisters of nitrous oxide[.]”
The beach area included a koi pond where “where the natural dishwasher met the water’s edge,” lawyers said, adding all the fish died in a day.
Lawyers for Hsieh have claimed millions of dollars of real estate were inflated in cost and at times were based on Tarot cards, documents said.
“In October 2020 alone, over $100 million of Tony’s money was spent on overpriced real estate and nonsensical long-term commercial leases, which transactions closed at a time when Tony suffered from a series of destructive psychotic episodes,” lawyers said.
On the night of the fire, Hsieh had retreated to a shed after a fight with his girlfriend and was using a propane heater to stay warm before the fire that killed him, investigators said. Hsieh was in a storage room with a 20-pound propane tank at the time.
Lawyers for his estate said Hsieh had a “growing obsession with candles and fire” at the time.
The involved parties have repeatedly declined to comment.