September 24, 2022

Broadcom co-founder sued by ex-gGirlfriend

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By David Ruiz, From The Recorder
SAN FRANCISCO — The billionaire co-founder of Broadcom Corp. is facing a lawsuit from a former girlfriend who claims he emotionally manipulated and physically assaulted her during their five-year relationship.
The suit, filed Friday in Orange County Superior Court, alleges that Henry Nicholas III broke his promise to financially support Melissa Montero and seeks damages of more than $60 million.
Montero, 41, is represented by Greenberg Gross in the suit for breach of contract, emotional distress, assault and battery and domestic violence.
“She is merely seeking to keep [Nicholas] accountable to the promises he made, which are enforceable,” said Greenberg Gross partner Alan Greenberg. “She gave up a lot of key years of her life and she’s lost out on opportunities as a result of being with him.”
Greenberg said that to his knowledge, Nicholas does not currently have lawyers representing him in the matter. A Broadcom spokesman did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment.
Nicholas, 57, founded Broadcom in 1991 with Henry Samueli, his engineering professor. The semiconductor company sold in 2015 to rival chipmaker Avago Technologies Inc. for $37 billion.
In 2008, both Nicholas and Samueli were charged with stock option backdating. Though both men ultimately beat the charges, the indictment against Nicholas detailed cocaine binges and former colleagues claimed that Nicholas had tunnels built under his Southern California mansion to access drugs and prostitutes.
Nicholas was under indictment when Montero met him and wearing an ankle bracelet, according to the suit. But her lawyer said she did not delve deeply into his legal troubles.
“When you fall in love with someone, you don’t really do ‘due diligence’ on them,” Greenberg said. “That makes it seem almost like a merger agreement.”
Prior to meeting Nicholas, Montero held several jobs, working as a regional manager for a clothing chain and an account manager for Deutsche Bank and Aames Home Loan, the complaint said. She worked briefly in restaurant management before meeting Nicholas in early 2009, when she was 34 and Nicholas was 50.
Within about a year of dating, Nicholas demanded that Montero quit her job, and promised that he would provide for her, according to Montero’s suit. When Montero was worried about how she’d afford her apartment and living expenses, Nicholas allegedly “retrieved $10,000 in cash from a backpack and handed it to Montero, to show not only his willingness to follow through on his promises, but also that meeting the obligation was not a burden on him.”
From 2010 to 2015, Nicholas provided Montero with a stipend of about $25,000 per month, her lawyers wrote.
According to the suit, Nicholas sought to control Montero and ensure she was financially dependent. Montero also claims that Nicholas became physically abusive, allegedly throwing a phone at Montero and bruising her arm on two separate occasions, once by grabbing her and another time by closing a limo door on her.
According to the suit, which seeks palimony under California law, Nicholas cut her off financially in October.
“For years,” the suit states, “Montero performed the duties and services of [a] personal assistant, secretary, business advisor, life coach, confidante, nurse (after dental and orthopedic operations), social companion, household manager, social coordinator, stepmother to Nicholas’s children, and liaison to Nicholas’s ex-wife—all in the context of what can be described most charitably as the eccentric existence of a multi-billionaire.”
IMAGE: Henry Nicholas
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