Nothing former Broadcom CEO Henry Nicholas did is particularly remarkable to anyone who's enjoyed Brett Morgen's The Kid Stays in the Picture biopic about the life and times of Robert Evans. What's remarkable is that it was a technology CEO in Orange County and not someone in the abnormally amoral entertainment industry. As cynical and jaded as we may be about the foibles of the ultrarich of the Valley, even we were surprised by some of the stunts detailed in the allegations, if only for their naïveté.
- 10. Prostitutes: Absolutely nothing surprising about that, since there are more tech titans of our acquaintance known to prefer quantitative intimacy to qualitative intimacy, as it's just so much more efficient.
- 9. Code words: Anyone familiar for looking for an apartment on Craigslist should know what "420 friendly" means. What's slightly surprising is that Nicholas used such common slang as "party favors" when arranging a score. Your run-of-the-mill paranoid drug dealer is more creative.
- 8. Minions: That Nicholas employed flunkies and other hangers-on to do his dirty work isn't particularly surprising, either. But that he had employees on Broadcom's payroll running errands for him certainly raises an eyebrow. And cost him $1 million in hush money.
- 7. Doctor shopping: To get the amounts of Vicoprofen (hydrocodone and ibuprofen) and Valium (diazepam) Nicholas wanted on hand, he had scripts written up for associates. With a private jet, why not just fly down to Mexico and stock up? That seems easier. One smuggling run is a lot less risky than dozens of doctor visits.
- 6. Drink spiking: While spiking another executive's drink with ecstasy would normally be pretty surprising, I'm pretty sure more than a few techies have been accidentally dosed at Burning Man. What shocks me was that it as at a Super Bowl party in New Orleans. I though techies hated team sports!
- 5. Wire transfers: For a guy who was on all sorts of stimulants, he was surprisingly blasé about being surveilled. Leaving multiple records of five-figure drug deals is the first clue that this guy felt invincible. That he broke the $10,000 rule to keep transactions under the IRS's radar is no-no No. 2.
- 4. Budgets, invoices and petty cash: Leave it to a businessman to have fellow junkies draw up a budget for a Super Bowl party, have dealers submit invoices for large orders of MDMA and direct Broadcom employees to keep $10,000 on hand at all times for Nicholas's whims.
- 3. Death threats: Even Robert Evans, when angered, probably only threw around some verbal abuse on the order of "You'll never work in this town again." But a tech geek reverting to mafia tactics? That's new.
- 2. Hotboxing a plane: By "causing marijuana smoke and fumes to enter the cockpit" of his private plane on a flight to Nevada, Nicholas may go down in history. That seems more like something the boys of Entourage would do, not something an Orange County entrepreneur would indulge in, rock star friends or no.
- 1. Woodstock '99: Even more surprising is that a guy who issued death threats would go to an anniversary of the world's most famous love-in. I mean, I knew Woodstock '99 was a corporate sham, but little did I know exactly how corporate things were when apparently a tech titan (and football fan) was slinging tablets of ecstasy to concertgoers.
(Photo AP/Nathan Denette)