Bethany McLean, the Vanity Fair writer and co-author of the Enron book “The Smartest Guys in the Room: The Amazing Rise and Scandalous Fall of Enron” gives us some details on Broadcom billionaire Henry Nicholas in light of allegations about “the parade of prostitutes, the spiking of clients’ drinks with Ecstasy, and the secret lair that he built underneath the Orange County mansion he shared with his wife and kids.”
Some info we knew, some we didn’t. Here are some of the article’s juiciest details (and allegations!) behind this sketchy guy, whose full name even sounds rich and evil, comic-book style, Dr. Henry Thompson Nicholas III:
- The government said that he hired prostitutes for himself and his customers, used cocaine, methamphetamines, Ecstasy, prescription painkillers, and more—and spiked the drinks of other technology executives without their knowledge.
- On June 5, the Justice Department unsealed not one but two federal indictments. Nicholas was charged with securities fraud for his role in an alleged scheme in which Broadcom deceived its shareholders about how much it was paying employees by lying about the timing of stock-option grants.
- The company’s former chief financial officer, Bill Ruehle, who was also indicted, had referred to the scheme as the “golden goose,” and, indeed, for years this practice served to wildly inflate the profits Broadcom reported to the public.
- Since 2000, more than a dozen people—two of whom were paid off by Broadcom and agreed to keep their allegations secret, according to prosecutors—have filed lawsuits, draft complaints, or supporting declarations that make the government’s allegations seem like the PG-rated version of affairs
- Has a fondness for witness intimidation, reportedly said that he “could have people killed.”
- “He wanted to live above ground with his wife and three children, with the option to go below ground to immerse himself in his cocaine, ecstasy, Viagra, speed, prostitutes, and party friends,” alleged the contractors who helped build what they called “the Lair.”
- According to a fired company engineer Nicholas also “had a practice of hiring prostitutes to ‘greet’ visiting customers, other business associates, and for himself.” Nicholas called the prostitutes “professional saleswomen,” says another person who did business with Broadcom.
- Had hundreds of construction workers building the sex lair at all hours, during the week he took his wife on vacation to Hawaii.
- Another party spot, in a warehouse located in a gritty industrial district, was nicknamed “the Pond.” The decor was inspired by his trip to Burma. The contractors called it Nicholas’s “own personal brothel.”
- Just as with Queen Elizabeth guests couldn’t leave the party before Henry.
- Wife Stacey filed for divorce when she came home from vacation to find her husband at the Pond, high and having sex with a prostitute while high on drugs in a red-and-gold room with a carved wooden ceiling and a gigantic bed.
- An employee says “first time I used cocaine was when Nick shoved a tiny spoon up my nose because I was falling asleep while he was talking to me.”
And so very much more. Read it all here.
Such a shame that this guy gave into such temptation because he built a really great company.
- Broadcom’s chips are used in everything from Apple’s iPhone to Nintendo’s Wii, the company has revenues approaching $4 billion, and employs 6,800 people.
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