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Assistant plans to drop millions in claims, pay Hsieh family $750K

Updated December 30, 2021 - 6:51 pm

In a tentative settlement agreement filed Thursday, Tony Hsieh’s longtime assistant has agreed to pay his family instead of pursuing millions of dollars in creditor’s claims.

According to the agreement, which will not be official until it is approved by a judge, Jennifer “Mimi” Pham and her boyfriend, Roberto Grande, have agreed to pay $750,000 to Hsieh’s family. Since Hsieh’s death in November 2020, Pham has filed more than $130 million in creditor’s claims against his estate.

If the settlement is approved, Pham and Hsieh’s estate will dismiss their respective claims against each other, court records show.

“Our clients have reached an amicable resolution which allows everyone to set aside their differences and our clients can focus their energies toward honoring and mourning the loss of their dear and beloved friend, Mr. Tony Hsieh,” Pham’s lawyers, David Chesnoff and Richard Schonfeld said in an emailed statement.

Hsieh died at age 46 from injuries suffered in a Connecticut house fire. His father, Richard, and brother Andrew are overseeing the estate of the former Zappos boss.

Lawyers for Hsieh’s family did not respond to request for comment.

Much of the legal battle over Hsieh’s estate has centered around Pham, who, in court filings by her lawyers, was described as Hsieh’s assistant, right-hand person and friend for 17 years.

Hsieh used Pham’s cellphone account for his main number, had cable and utility accounts in her name, and shared the same address on their driver’s licenses, according to court records.

The largest creditor’s claim she filed was for $75 million in “anticipated profit” from Hsieh’s venture in the documentary-movie streaming service Documentary+ that launched in January.

Attorneys for Hsieh’s family have claimed in previous filings that Pham, her boyfriend, and Hsieh’s financial manager, Tony Lee, were aware that the tech mogul was “physically and mentally unwell.”

The lawyers claimed that in Hsieh’s final years, he was malnourished, barely sleeping and hallucinating from ketamine and nitrous oxide use.

Pham, Grande and Lee encouraged Hsieh to pursue “impulsive, poorly planned” or “incoherent” investments to turn Park City, Utah, into a “mecca for creatives,” his family alleged.

Lee has filed his own lawsuit against Hsieh’s estate, stating that he had known Hsieh for years and began working for him in 2020. The lawsuit claimed that Lee’s limited liability company was owed almost $6.9 million in compensation under a guaranteed contract.

Other creditor’s claims in Hsieh’s probate case include 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 including working on “random projects like koi fish or tree houses.”

Contact Katelyn Newberg at knewberg@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0240. Follow @k_newberg on Twitter.

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