By Nigel Boys
Henry Nicholas III, the co-founder of Broadcom Corporation, was ranked 236 on Forbes richest Americans in 2009 with a net worth of over $1.5 billion. He is also well known for philanthropy. The problem is that he has a dark past that few people know.
The 55-year-old former President and Chief Executive Officer of the Fortune 500 company is rumored to have been addicted to drugs and alcohol during his life and even set up a special place underground where he could entertain business associates.
Most people know Nicholas as the man behind the Nicholas Academic Centers, which have sent over 200 students to top-ranked universities. He is also known as the man who helped his mother and stepfather, Marcella and Robert Leach, found Justice for Homicide Victims, Inc. The non-profit organization was set up shortly after the death of Nicholas’ sister, who was fatally shot by her ex-boyfriend in 1983.
Although Nicholas voluntarily checked himself into a Betty Ford alcohol rehabilitation program in 2008 and has since been seen to be a sober philanthropist, his dark past might have labeled him as a sex-addict who used drugs to influence people.
Prosecutors are also trying to tie him into drug distribution charges, although most of those charges were dismissed in 2010.
After Broadcom shares skyrocketed and he made millions off his initial investment of $5,000, Nicholas decided to renovate his home in the Nellie Gail Ranch area of Laguna Hills, California. He started out with a renovation project of $400,000 that would turn into over $30 million.
Reportedly, the internet billionaire would indulge in unrestrained indulgence parties that would feature the use of prostitutes and drugs while his wife would remain in the main area of their house. He was apparently building an underground cave, adjacent to the main house, which would be used solely for the purpose of entertaining his own wild desires as well as that of his business clientele.
Apart from the distribution of cocaine charges leveled against Nicholas and the use of ladies of the night to obtain business favors, he was reportedly so used to smoking weed, that it put his own life and that of others at risk. According to reports, his private jet pilot had to don an oxygen mask once while flying him to avoid getting high.
Although Nicholas denies all drug other charges, many people have admitted to being present in his underground lair where it all apparently happened.
Financial Juneteenth lessons from this story:
1) Money is a drug. Like any drug, you can easily become addicted to it and allow it to lead you to do things you never thought you’d do. As you build your wealth, figure out what really matters most in your life and make sure you don’t allow money to destroy those things. Paramount is your sense of integrity and well-being, which are always in jeopardy when you’ve become overcommitted to the fast life.
2) Say no to drugs and alcohol. They generally lead to poor decision making and also disrupt the chemistry in your brain. Alcohol is socially acceptable because it’s used so widely, but a recent study showed that alcohol has a more harmful effect on our society than harder drugs such as crack and heroin. Part of the danger of alcohol is that we don’t believe that it is a danger at all, but when you add up all the drunk driving deaths, sexual assaults and other crimes committed while under the influence, you can easily see how disruptive substance abuse can become.
3) As you climb the ladder of wealth, never mistake a rich person for a good human being. There are some who’ve allowed their wealth to become a “get out of jail free” card for any kind of devious or harmful behavior they might exhibit. Becoming associated with people just because you’re hypnotized by their wealth or fame can get you into legal trouble or put you in otherwise bad situations. Don’t just try to hang around rich people; spend time with GOOD people.