The Billionaire Who Built A Cocaine Batcave
Henry Nicholas, the founder of tech manufacturer Broadcom, was charged in 2008 for financial crimes. We’re not going to bore you with details of those. We want to talk about the lair he built under his mansion for drug and sex parties.
The lair began as just a modest remodeling. He was going to build an underground connecting corridor between his library and his gym—you know, as you do. But then Nicholas, who had recently acquired a taste for Vegas sex vacations and cocaine, grew more ambitious.
He turned the tunnel into a fortress, possibly because he had the nickname “Superman” (he stood six-foot-six, and everyone around him liked to flatter him for some reason). He made it look like an actual cave by coating the walls with rough stone. Of course, he first had to build an exact full-scale replica in a warehouse, as though he were planning a heist into his own stronghold. Then once he built the real thing, he installed several secret passages connecting the tunnel directly to the outside, one behind a boulder in the wine cellar and one opening into what looked like an ordinary horse shed on the nearby hill.
To get the mood right for the many drug and sex parties he’d throw there, he set up red lighting, rooms shaped like octagons, and statues of people in Kama Sutra positions. And he aimed to keep all of this secret from his wife Stacey, who happened to live elsewhere in this very house. He did this by taking her to Hawaii for two weeks and leaving workers to keep construction going 24/7 in their absence. Despite such exhaustive precautions, Stacey did in fact notice a massive orgy palace below her house, and when Nick left a later vacation early, Stacey left soon after and headed for the lair. She caught him in bed with a prostitute, too high to notice his wife approaching.
When the authorities closed in for the financial shenanigans, they also searched the lair and so booked him for drug trafficking. A judge dismissed the charges (the government had intimidated witnesses and put together a “shameful” case, said the judge), and Nicholas would plead guilty to a different round of drug charges a decade later.
Meanwhile, the contractors who built the lair sued him, allegedly getting a $3 million settlement. They said Nicholas stiffed them on payments, and they also claimed he threatened to murder them if they disclosed details about the lair’s construction. That’s one way the lair was different from the Batcave. Bruce Wayne didn’t merely threaten the Batcave’s contractors: He actually murdered them all.
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Top image: Henry T. Nicholas Foundation, Warner Bros.