Updated June 3, 2021 - 12:56 pm
A man who supposedly had business dealings with the late tech mogul Tony Hsieh has levied a $12.5 million creditor’s claim against his estate, in a court filing that leaves more than one question unanswered.
Mark Evensvold filed a 10-page document Tuesday in Hsieh’s probate case in District Court claiming he had a contract that called for Evensvold to have loosely defined work responsibilities, including possibly building treehouses, in the wealthy ski town of Park City, Utah.
He was set to be paid $450,000 per year and was offered a signing bonus that included 20 percent of Hsieh’s interest in restaurant chain Nacho Daddy, according to the creditor’s claim, which does not provide the ownership stake’s financial value.
A copy of the contract in “Post-it note form” — handwritten and barely legible — is attached to the filing, with a “transcript of a conversation” between the two men that outlines the terms of their deal.
The conversation supposedly took place “on the beach” on Aug. 19 at 3:12 p.m.
The filing does not provide further details about where this negotiation took place, nor does it show how their conversation was recorded or documented, other than indicating, near the end of the transcript, that an unnamed “court reporter” was present, as was someone named Jen.
Staking a claim
Evensvold is the latest person to file a creditor’s claim in what has shaped up to be a potentially long, complex court battle to determine the future of Hsieh’s fortune.
Hsieh, the former longtime boss of online shoe seller Zappos and the face of downtown Las Vegas’ revival, died in November at age 46 from injuries suffered in a Connecticut house fire and did not leave a will.
As part of the probate case, Hsieh’s family filed plans to sell his real estate holdings in Las Vegas, where Hsieh was one of downtown’s biggest property owners, and to sell homes and other plots he owned in Park City.
Evensvold’s filing does not name any lawyers as representing him in the creditor’s claim, but online case information lists his attorney as Jeffrey Luszeck.
Luszeck could not be reached for comment Wednesday. Attorneys for Hsieh’s family in the probate case did not respond to a request for comment.
Hsieh, who was unmarried, emerged in Park City last year after the coronavirus pandemic abruptly ended his once-regular stream of interactions, events and good times in Las Vegas. He was surrounded by new people in Utah and hosted plenty of parties.
He also seemed to display erratic behavior, and reports of his drug use sparked concern, people familiar with Hsieh’s life in Park City have told the Review-Journal.
‘No real schedule’
According to the transcript filed Tuesday, Hsieh indicated that Evensvold would help run his bar operations but that he could also “work on random projects like koi fish or tree houses.”
“But it’s a very general title. Project manager, slash, bartender or backup bartender. But … everyone has the same title, basically. Everyone is a project manager and then you just work on whatever you feel like. There’s no real schedule,” Hsieh said, adding “your first project can be go build your own tree house or your own home or work with someone else.”
Evensvold’s compensation would be double his best year’s salary, Hsieh indicated. Evensvold replied this was “225,” putting his salary under Hsieh at $450,000 per year, the filing said.
Hsieh was known for having walls covered with Post-it notes, and the Review-Journal reported in December that his staff in Park City was said to include a court stenographer who was hired to record what people were saying.
Hsieh also had a longtime friend and associate named Jennifer Pham, though she is known as Mimi.
Pham filed lawsuits early this year alleging contracts she had with Hsieh weren’t being honored, and, in early March, more than $90 million worth of creditor’s claims against his estate.
The biggest claim by far, $75 million, represented “the anticipated profit” from Hsieh’s venture in a documentary-movie streaming service.
Hsieh’s longtime friend and financial manager Tony Lee also sued Hsieh’s estate in April seeking nearly $7 million over an alleged breach of contract.