Zappos founder Tony Hsieh left a “mess” of an estate worth hundreds of millions of dollars — including deals scrawled on thousands of Post-it notes covering his walls, according to reports.
Hsieh’s father, Richard, and brother Andrew recently traveled to Park City, Utah, where the troubled mogul had spent $70 million this year setting up a new home base, sources told the Wall Street Journal.
Without a will to work with, they are trying to trace Hsieh’s full worth and recent business dealings — with his most recent investments made through a dozen limited-liability companies while he was seemingly having a breakdown, the paper said.
The dad and brother — who were appointed administrators of Hsieh’s estate after his death in a Connecticut house fire — have already started kicking out some of the fashion shoe brand mogul’s hangers-on who were still living in his properties, the WSJ said.
They now also have to evaluate apparent financial commitments he made to staff and friends that were found on multi-colored sticky notes plastering the walls of the mansion, according to the report.
Justin H. Brown, a partner at the law firm Troutman Pepper Hamilton Sanders LLP, told the paper it could be a crucial sticking point, as it were, in the clear “mess” of Hsieh’s estate.
“You’re going to have to look at each specific sticky note and decide if it’s a contract — is it binding?” Brown told the paper.
“Was he in the correct state of mind — did he have the capacity to even enter a contract?” said Brown, who is not involved in the case.
Hsieh was worth hundreds of millions of dollars when he died last month, the report said, citing close friends and estimates by Forbes.
In the months leading up to his death, he went on a wild spending spree in Park City after falling in love with the area following an earlier visit to the Sundance Film Festival there, the paper said.
As well as buying his mansion and surrounding properties for staff and friends, he reportedly propped up struggling local businesses — getting a car company to ferry around his friends, a wine bar to provide for all his parties, and even keeping open tabs at several restaurants.
He even let his friends use his credit cards, the report said.
On top of that, he had a $30 million “angel” fund planned for tech startups and other businesses in Park City, according to the records and people close to him, the paper said.
The Hsieh family told the WSJ that “no decisions on the future of the estate have been made since Tony Hsieh’s recent, sudden and unexpected death.”
As co-administrators of the estate, Richard and Andrew Hsieh are charged with “duties to gather information and to garner and protect the assets of the estate, and these next stages will take time to run their course,” the family’s statement said.