LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Las Vegas visionary Tony Hsieh abruptly and quietly left Zappos around August 2020 and set his sights on a new adventure in a quiet ski town about 30 minutes outside of Salt Lake City.
Some say the "retired" shoe mogul was trying to duplicate what he envisioned for Las Vegas in the snow-covered ski slopes in Utah.
Tony's time in the beehive state was marked by home-buying, wild parties, law enforcement interventions and a growing concern about his mental health, according to documents.
Like so many of us, Tony's way of life was upended by the pandemic.
Hsieh left Zappos, the company he helped mold into a billion dollar business without fanfare.
But he had no intention, it appears, to retire in the conventional sense.
Among the snowy Utah mountain peaks where ski lifts and steeples seem to touch the ski, Tony began carving out a place of his own in Park City.
The town is home to about 8,000 permanent residents, but it draws 600,000 visitors in a normal year.
Tony Hsieh, either directly himself, or through his close friends and associates invited people to Utah to take in the sights.
"We were just touching base and [Rachel Brown] said 'hey, Tony is stepping down from Zappos, he's going to be creating a whole new thing up in Park City, why don't you guys just come up and get out of the heat," Said David Perrico, a Las Vegas musician.
Perrico, of Pop Strings Orchestra, says the invitation came from former band mate Rachel Brown, who happened to by Hsieh's longtime friend and coworker at online shoe retailer Zappos.
Perrico says in August 2020, tour buses were sent to pick him, his wife, and fellow band mates up in Las Vegas for the trip to Utah.
"It was a mini three-day vacation," explained Perrico.
"Rachel made sure that we had accommodations, we had our own [condominium,' we did some hiking and then we would meet every night with Rahcel and some of the other Zappos employees who were there, for dinner," explained Perrico.
Perrico says Tony's mountain mansion was set on acres of land and filled with breath-taking beauty.
Property records show the home was purchased in July 2020 for almost $15 million.
"It had to be at least 20,000 square feet, kind of A-frame style, off the back with this huge deck that overlooks the lake, a big area where the living room was, where the grand piano was set up and we plated some music and jammed," explained Perrico.
The trip included hot air balloons, hiking and sight-seeing.
Perrico says he rarely saw Tony, but noticed something else at the mountain mansion.
A policy in which cell phones had to be surrendered to staff before entering the home.
"The place was heavily fortified with security, I mean everywhere you went there was security," explained Perrico.
"We had to be tested for COVID before we could even go there," added Perrico.
Records show, Tony went on a shopping spree while in Utah and purchased several properties around park city totaling millions of dollars.
Some say it was the beginning of something big.
"We were going to be putting a lot of people to work, creating a lot of jobs, a lot of things in Park City, itself," said Perrico.
Tony began making a name for himself with law enforcement as well.
13 Investigates obtained multiple reports from the Summit County Sheriff's Office which detail the encounters.
In June, a friend reported Hsieh broke several things inside a home and threatened to hurt himself.
Law enforcement dispatch audio obtained by 13 Investigates revealed the friend became uncooperative after calling authorities.
Hsieh was taken to the hospital for treatment but a friend phoned authorities hours later warning if Hsieh were to be released from care it would "be a problem."
In early August 2020, authorities were called one again to Hsieh's mountain mansion for a welfare check.
Approximately 10 days later there was another call into authorities.
This time, a friend reported Tony was increasingly paranoid and they were becoming concerned for his safety.
The redacted report obtained by 13 Investigates indicates Hsieh was believed to be using inhalants.
The documents show despite the safety concerns, Hsieh's security detail told authorities everything was fine.
In Sept., reports show a party at the mountain mansion got the attention of neighbors and authorities.
Neighbors reported a party which had been going on for 40 straight days with loud music and flames shooting from some sort of contraption.
After law enforcement contact, authorities were called twice more in the days that followed.
13 Investigates reached out to a public relations firm and requested interviews about Tony Hsieh's plans for Park City but the requests were not granted.
Hsieh's time in Park City was positive for some, however.
The mayor of Park City released a statement on Dec. 10:
I offer deep condolences to the friends and family of Tony Hsieh. We have lost a brilliant and creative soul. He may have been new to our community, but he had a large and immediate impact. Through the depths of the pandemic closures and difficult re-opening period, he generously and quietly bolstered many of Park City’s small businesses. It was a lifeline to at least a few of them. In 2012, the Park City leadership classes visited Las Vegas to see Tony’s transformative work to revitalize Old Vegas. He had taken his earnings and community-first ethos from Zappos, and begun to apply it to improving his hometown. He had a fascination with community-building, and brought an entrepreneurial and imaginative approach to his work. Thank you to Tony for the kindness he showed our community, and we are sorry we were unable to get to know him better. We invite his friends and co-workers to stay and continue his work. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.
"I was just amazed by the generosity of Tony, to say hey, we're gonna send you these buses and what really stuck out to me, knowning what he did in Las Vegas, it was gonna be kind of a second, positive outcome in Park City," explained Perrico.
After Utah, Hsieh traveled to Puerto Rico and then a quick stop in New London, CT.
What happened next is still surrounded in mystery.