The estate of the late former Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh has resolved a legal dispute initiated in 2021 by a former employee of a Las Vegas restaurant, in which Hsieh had invested.
Tony Hsieh enabled Zappos to become a multibillion-dollar shoe company following his takeover of the internet business in 1999. He passed away in 2020, after stepping down from the company, following reports of his unpredictable behavior from his close friends. (Image: footwearnews.com)
Based on court documents, Mark Evensvold, the former director of operations and director of business development for Nacho Daddy, claimed he is owed $12.5 million from Hsieh’s estate due to an employment contract they agreed to on a Post-it Note in 2020.
Hsieh was estimated to be worth $840 million when he died at the age of 46 in a Connecticut house fire on November 26, 2020. The digital entrepreneur did not leave a will.
On August 19, 2020, Evensvold asserted that his contract — which involved his duties being vaguely defined as “work on random projects like koi fish or tree houses” — promised him $450K a year and a signing bonus that included 20% of Hsieh’s 25% interest in Nacho Daddy.
The creditor’s claim against Tony Hsieh’s estate includes what the claimant claims is the employment contract, written on a Post-it note. (Image: Clark County District Court)
The claim from Evensvold also included a “transcript of the conversation” between them outlining the terms of their deal. The claim stated that a “court recorder” was present to record the conversation.
“But for Tony’s offer of the signing bonus, Evensvold would not have entered into the agreement, would not have resigned from Nacho Daddy, and would not have relocated from Las Vegas to Park City,” Evensvold’s claim declared.
Earlier this month, the Hsieh estate settled a similar lawsuit submitted in 2021 by Hsieh’s financial manager, Tony Lee, who claimed damages of $7 million due to breach of contract.
Both cases were part of the legal probate process necessary for claims made against people who pass away without leaving a will. Neither settlement amount was disclosed.
Hsieh’s Sad Downfall
Hsieh facilitated Zappos to become the first billion-dollar internet shoe company following his takeover of the company in 1999. After moving its base of operations from San Francisco to Henderson, Nev., and then to Las Vegas, he also reinvented a section of downtown Las Vegas from a crime-ridden area to a trendy neighborhood.
He was also known for his unusual behavior, including living with an alpaca in an Airstream in a downtown trailer park, and conducting his business unconventionally – including via sticky notes. Hsieh had walls covered with Post-its.
Court documents filed by Hsieh’s family last year indicated Hsieh used ketamine and nitrous oxide in the years prior to his death. According to associates, Hsieh used “as many as 50 cartridges of nitrous oxide a day, often in public, or during ‘meetings’ with people,” documents said.
Lawyers for Hsieh’s estate have repeatedly stated in court documents that Hsieh did not possess the mental capacity to authorize contracts in the months and even years leading up to his death.