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Texas company seeks $8.7M from Tony Hsieh’s estate

Updated November 23, 2021 - 12:30 pm

A Texas-based travel, fitness and wellness company claims Tony Hsieh’s estate owes more than $8.7 million for consulting work, according to court papers filed Monday.

Susan Baleson, the owner of The Wellth Collective, LLC, is seeking a total $8,765,981.60, for work Baleson said her company performed on behalf of Hsieh in Park City, Utah.

Baleson’s claim provided copies of Hsieh’s notes, including a Post-It note labeled “Magic Castle Project.”

The claim was filed in Hsieh’s probate case, which began in December when Hsieh’s family filed court papers stating they believed the former Zappos executive and Las Vegas tech entrepreneur died without a will.

Hsieh died Nov. 27 at age 46 from injuries suffered in a Connecticut house fire. His father, Richard, and his brother, Andrew, are overseeing the estate of the former Zappos boss.

Baleson filed a second claim Monday on behalf of her Delaware-based company, Beautiful Wellth Investments, asking for the return of stocks Tony Hsieh had purchased through a limited liability company, Pickled Investments.

“The Wellth Collective and Beautiful Wellth Investments claims are straightforward and realistic in that they seek payment for services performed and actual expenditures, and are based on valid contractual agreements,” a spokesman for the companies said in an emailed statement. “They do not seek payment for future, unperformed services, or for any other reason. These parties simply want to be compensated for what they did for Mr. Hsieh in the past and, therefore, are legitimately owed.”

According to Wellth Collective’s website, the company organizes “fitness and wellness events” across the U.S.

Baleson met Hsieh in the spring of 2012 while interviewing for Resort Gaming Group, which managed the real estate arm of Hsieh’s Downtown Project fund, according to the claim. Baleson worked for Resort Gaming Group for a short period before launching her own business “focused on hospitality and marketing,” for which the Downtown Project provided seed money.

Baleson and her company also consulted for Zappos.

Hsieh later asked Baleson to work with him on “several projects” in the wealthy ski town of Park City, Utah, “in a similar capacity to previous work — including, without limitation, the sourcing and acquisition of real estate, team management and events,” the claim stated.

Hsieh emerged in Park City after the coronavirus pandemic abruptly ended his once-regular stream of interactions and events in Las Vegas.

In June, Mark Evensvold, who supposedly had business dealings with Hsieh, levied a $12.5 million creditor’s claim against his estate, claiming he had a contract that called for Evensvold to have loosely defined work responsibilities, including possibly building treehouses in Park City.

Hsieh was known to write contracts on Post-It notes, the Review-Journal has reported. Evensvold included a copy of such a contract in his claim against Hsieh’s estate.

A copy of Hsieh’s “cash flow projection” dated Aug. 27, 2020 included in Baleson’s claim indicated Hsieh planned to commit $5 million to “Magic Castle.” The filing, parts of which were redacted, did not elaborate on what Magic Castle entailed.

“Wellth Co. entered into a number of contracts with subcontractors or other outside vendors and incurred expenses on behalf of (Hsieh) with the full expectation that (Hsieh) would pay, or cause to be paid, the underlying fees and expenses, as well as the fee due to Wellth Co.,” the claim said.

The claim stated Hsieh “had clarity in what he had asked Wellth Co. to do” when he entered into the contract.

Previous court filings from Hsieh’s family claimed Hsieh spent his final years malnourished, barely sleeping and hallucinating from ketamine and nitrous oxide use. In Park City, Hsieh bought several houses and hosted numerous parties. He also seemed to display erratic behaviour, and reports of his drug use sparked concern, the Review-Journal previously reported.

Hsieh’s family has also claimed in court filings that the tech moguls friends knew he was unwell but continued to use him for their own financial gain in the months leading to his death, including investments in Park City, Utah.

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

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

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