Court records filed this month by Tony Hsieh’s family and associates level more accusations that both parties financially took advantage of the Zappos founder, even after Hsieh had died.
Lawyers for Tony Lee, Hsieh’s longtime friend and financial manager, filed court documents accusing Andrew Hsieh of using money from his brother’s estate for personal expenses following his brother’s death. The expenses included $200,000 on a new Mercedes Sprinter and $100,000 for a “personal nutritionist and training plan,” according to the District Court filing.
“Andy may have siphoned hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars from the Estate for his own personal benefit,” wrote Lee’s lawyers, Liane Wakayama, Dale Hayes and Jeremy Holmes.
Lawyers for Andrew Hsieh and Lee did not reply to requests for comment.
Tony Hsieh was 46 when he died on Nov. 26, 2020, from injuries suffered in a Connecticut house fire.
He died without a will, prompting the probate case that the Sept. 16 document was filed in. Lengthy court battles in multiple cases over creditor’s claims against Hsieh’s estate have included a $40,000 claim for a custom ceiling brain prototype, an $8.7 million claim from a Texas-based travel, fitness and wellness company for consulting work; and a transcript of Hsieh hiring someone for $450,000 a year under a loosely defined job title that included working on “random projects like koi fish or tree houses.”
Lee sued Hsieh’s estate in April 2021, seeking nearly $7 million from a breached contract.
Andrew Hsieh was overseeing his brother’s estate with Tony Hsieh’s father, Richard Hsieh, until a District Court judge granted an order in July allowing Andrew Hsieh to resign as the estate’s co-administrator, court records show.
Lee’s lawyers argued in the court filing that Andrew Hsieh failed to file an appropriate accounting of the estate before resigning as a co-administrator, and that his resignation was an attempt to “gain a strategic advantage in other litigation.”
Meanwhile, Tony Hsieh’s estate filed an amended counterclaim on Sept. 16 in response to a lawsuit from Puoy Premsrirut, a former attorney for Hsieh, who initially sued the estate in January seeking legal fees.
In the amended complaint, Hsieh’s estate also sued Ling Yim, known as Chrissie Yim, and Connie Yeh, who is Hsieh’s cousin.
The filing accused both Yim and Yeh of almost doubling their more than $200,000 salaries during the summer of 2020, when Hsieh was allegedly having a “breakdown” in Montana. According to the filing, Yim was “one of Tony’s trusted advisors,” and Yeh was in charge of tracking his business and personal finances.
Attempts to reach Yim and Yeh for comment were not successful.
Previous court filings have detailed the bus trip Hsieh took to Montana, during which he asked his friends to join him in a suicide pact, believing that dying was the best way to transcend human consciousness.
The lawsuit also accused Yeh and Yim of wiring about $3 million to “entities they owned or controlled (including approximately $500,000 wired days after Tony’s tragic death),” according to court documents.
The counterclaim, which was originally filed in August, also alleged that Hsieh planned to build a theme park, dubbed Country Zero, in Park City, Utah, where visitors would use tarot cards to gain entry and exchange seashells for food, hot air balloon rides and spa days.
Multiple court documents have claimed Hsieh was malnourished, barely slept and abused ketamine and nitrous oxide during the final year of his life.
Lee’s lawyers repeated allegations in recent court documents that Andrew Hsieh was providing his brother with drugs.
“Andy was providing Hsieh with increasing amounts of nitrous oxide with no concerns that his brother was mentally incompetent,” according to the court filing from Lee’s lawyers. “Yet, Andy hypocritically asserts that Lee (among others) took advantage of Hsieh in the final months of his life.”
The countersuit from Hsieh’s estate also alleges that Hsieh’s line of credit reached $250 million before his death. Transactions he made related to Country Zero that were listed in the court documents included paying Premsrirut and her law firm a $2.2 million fee for legal services; granting Lee a five-year, $7.5 million compensation agreement for financial consulting services; and granting Mark Evensvold, who managed the restaurant Nacho Daddy, a reported $30 million “signing bonus” and $450,000 compensation agreement to operate a “boat bar and ice castle” at the theme park.
Although Hsieh had allegedly intended to sell some of his Las Vegas properties to raise money for the Park City, project, he instead spent $70 million acquiring the Zappos headquarters building, paying $30 million more than its property value, according to court documents.