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Nicholas indictment also alleges prostitutes, mile-high drug use

June 5, 2008 |  4:01 pm

The case against Henry T. Nicholas III is getting juicier.

Broadcom founder Henry Nicholas One of the two indictments against the Broadcom founder that were unsealed today alleged that Nicholas put Ecstasy in the drinks of unsuspecting high-tech executives, bought prostitutes for customers of the Irvine-based chip company and both used and distributed illicit drugs, including cocaine and methamphetamines.

The second indictment deals with your classic Silicon Valley scandal: It accuses Nicholas and a co-defendant of conspiracy to backdate Broadcom stock options to boost their value without properly reporting the expense to shareholders.

Nicholas' lead attorney, Brendan V. Sullivan Jr., responded: "Dr. Nicholas will contest these charges vigorously. He is confident that he will be fully vindicated."

For aficionados of rich-people-being-naughty stories, there's this delicious tidbit from the story by Scott Reckard and Kim Christensen: The pilot of a private plane taking Nicholas and guests from Orange County to Las Vegas had to put on an oxygen mask because they smoked so much marijuana.

The partying wasn't reserved for the air, the government says. According to the story, the indictment also lists a few properties allegedly used for nefarious purposes:

  • An equestrian estate in Laguna Hills, where Nicholas had constructed a warren of tunnels and underground rooms, including one that contractors alleged was intended to become a secret "sex lair."
  • A warehouse-office complex in nearby Laguna Niguel, which contractors said was used for the same purposes and nicknamed "The Ponderosa."

If you're interested, here are PDFs you can download of the drug indictment or the stock-options indictment.

-- Chris Gaither

Photo by Richard Hartog / Los Angeles Times