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Family, friends post $3.3 million in bond for billionaire co-founder of Broadcom
[June 06, 2008]

Family, friends post $3.3 million in bond for billionaire co-founder of Broadcom

(Orange County Register, The (CA) (KRT) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) SANTA ANA, Calif. _ Friends and family showed support for indicted billionaire Henry T. Nicholas III by putting up their money and assets to free him on bond.

Those who rallied around the former tech wonder boy offer insight into his current life.

Nicholas, the co-founder of Irvine, Calif.'s Broadcom Corp. who is facing securities fraud and drug charges, is worth an estimated $1.5 billion, according to federal prosecutors. They argued that no amount of bail would keep him from fleeing unless it came from people he cared about, and U.S. Magistrate Judge Arthur Nakazato agreed.

Nicholas' attorneys mustered his mother and four friends to post $3.3 million in bond on his behalf.

Nicholas' former professor at UCLA and the former dean of the Henry Samueli School of Engineering at the University of California at Irvine, Nicolaos G. Alexopoulos, personally posted a $150,000 bond as evidence of his faith in the billionaire.

"He's done wonderful things for the faculty, the students and the school of engineering," Alexopoulos said of Nicholas as he left the courtroom. In March, Alexopoulos announced that he was leaving UCI to work as a vice president of Broadcom.

Nicholas has donated $40 million to UCI. In August, when Nicholas announced his creation of a $100 million foundation to support educational and other charities, Alexopoulos, a native of Greece, said he had been in lengthy talks about how to make the most of Nicholas' donations.


"When I was a foreign graduate student, I benefitted from people like Nick," Alexopoulos said at the time, using Nicholas' nickname. "Nick and Henry (Samueli) were my students when I was at UCLA. They were the two tall guys. You graduate kids, and some of them will change the world."


Nicholas and Samueli co-founded Broadcom. Samueli was referred to as an "unindicted co-conspirator" in one of the indictments against Nicholas unsealed Thursday.

Nicholas, who left Broadcom in 2003, was charged with 21 counts of securities fraud, lying to shareholders, lying to auditors and other crimes related to the company's manipulation of $2.2 billion worth of employee stock options. Also charged in the securities case was Broadcom's former chief financial officer, William Ruehle, who was released on bond.

Nicholas, 48, was separately charged with using and distributing cocaine, methamphetamines and "ecstasy," spiking the drinks of technology executives and handing out drugs to prostitutes he hired to entertain Broadcom's customers.

Prosecutor Andrew Stolper said Nicholas was not a drug dealer but that, "He was in the business of using drugs for his business."

Nicholas' attorneys said he would be vindicated.



Nicholas' friend, David B. Smith of San Clemente, Calif., posted a $1 million bond, using his home as collateral. Smith, who could not be reached Friday for comment, was at Nicholas' home the day the former Broadcom chief executive announced his $100 million foundation. Smith has three children at St. Margaret's Episcopal School, where Nicholas' three children are students.

Nicholas has donated $10 million to the school.

Smith is also active in the Fight on! Foundation, a nonprofit supported by Nicholas, which staged the American Heritage Bowl at Cal State Fullerton in January. The football game for all-star military athletes drew an audience of 150 spectators, for a 24-7 victory by Northeast Navy over the Southwest Marines.

Another pair of friends, Jim and Emily Davis of Hobbs, N.M., posted a bond of $100,000. The Hobbs, who are parents of Nicholas' recent girlfriend Kim R. Davis, declined to comment when asked outside court about their reasons for supporting his release. Davis formerly worked for the law firm Prindle, Decker & Amaro, which also employed Nicholas' current personal attorney William Hake.

Nicholas' mother, Marcella Nicholas Leach, offered her $2 million Malibu home as part of his $3.3 million bond.

As she left federal court late Thursday, Leach was asked if she believed her son was innocent.

"Yes," she replied before stepping into a car.

Leach's husband died in March at age 93. Her only other child, Marsy, was murdered by a former boyfriend in November 1983.


Nicholas himself emerged from the courthouse about 9 p.m. Thursday after the financial arrangements for his release were in place.

Asked if he had anything to say, Nicholas replied "No," then made a gesture indicating his lips were sealed.

Prosecutors had argued that Nicholas should be held without bond because his "history and resources create an increased risk of flight that is unlikely to be sufficiently mitigated by any bond conditions."

But Nakazato said Nicholas could have fled a long time ago if he had wanted to.

Nakazato also rejected prosecutors' contention that Nicholas should be held because he had threatened to kill people who testified against him.

"If there are any dead bodies, I'd like to see the government produce them," Nakazato said.


Ruehle was released on a $2 million appearance bond, a $500,000 cash deposit and a $100,000 bond posted by his daughter. Ruehle's attorney declined to comment beyond a statement declaring his client was "innocent."

The next court appearance for Nicholas and Ruehle was set for June 16.


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