Thursday, July 19, 2007

Big Bucks

Not much changes when we compare the bacchical excesses of the yester-years caesars with some members of todays capitalist class .

Henry T Nicholas III , for a brief period one of the richest men in America , founded the company Broadcom in 1991, making the innards of cable TV boxes . When it floated in the years of the internet boom, his shares went up in value 40 times .

He acquired the trappings of the super rich: private jets, a Lamborghini and a mansion in Laguna Hills with its own equestrian estate and, court documents claim, his personal brothel, hidden in an underground grotto. The grotto was reached by hidden doors with secret levers, leading to tunnels and a 2,000sq-ft underground sports bar called "Nick's Café". According to claims in court papers, this was a "secret and convenient lair", to cater for "Mr Nicholas's manic obsession with prostitutes" and his "addiction to cocaine and ecstasy". He used his private jet to pick up prostitutes as far away as New Orleans, Chicago, Las Vegas and Los Angeles "and bring them back to the Pond for his rock star friends", according to documents filed with Orange County Superior Court. "He provided his guests with transportation and cocaine, ecstasy, methamphetamines, marijuana, mushrooms, and nitrous oxide [laughing gas]".

The contractors say the underground site, called Ponderosa, "was infamous for excessive extravagance, its sex rooms and its million-dollar sound equipment", the documents claimed. The allegations were made by a construction company which says it was not paid. It is supported by other claims made by Kenji Kato, Mr Nicholas's former assistant. Mr Kato says he is owed $150,000 in back wages, and alleges serial drug use and other debauchery at the mansion.

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