SANTA ANA, Calif. (CN) - Broadcom billionaire Henry T. Nicholas III assaulted his girlfriend and broke his promise to financially support her for life, she claims in a $70 million lawsuit.
Melissa A. Montero sued Nicholas on Friday in Orange County Superior Court.
"Ms. Montero is a great person who did everything she could to help Henry Nicholas and save him from himself despite the challenges," her attorney Alan Greenberg told Courthouse News.
Though Nicholas kept breaking his promises to her, he kept luring her back because she loved him and was afraid for his well-being, the attorney said.
"It got to the point that she had to get out because of the promises made that he did not keep and the allegations of abuse and battery," Greenberg said.
"We made these allegations and will prove them in court. We have put them in the public domain, so it's not like we're asking him to pay money. This is not in any way an extortion attempt, but a way to enforce him to keep his promises and hold him accountable for his conduct."
In the 27-page complaint, Montero says Nicholas "intentionally put himself in a position of power over (her) by, among other things, convincing her to quit her job, move out of her apartment, cohabitate with him, and rely on him for food, clothing, shelter and every necessity of life. Once captive, Nicholas exploited Montero by subjecting her to emotional, verbal, and physical abuse."
His "abusive and violent behavior" not only breached his promises to financially support her for life and start a family with her, it inflicted severe emotional distress, entitling her to exemplary and punitive damages "in an amount sufficient to punish and make an example of him," the complaint states.
Nicholas, an electrical engineer, co-founded Broadcom in 1991 with fellow engineer Henry Samueli. Now a Fortune 500 company, Broadcom is one of the world's largest semiconductor manufacturers and one of the top 30 U.S. patent assignees, holding more than 11,250 U.S. patents. It reported earnings of $8.43 billion in 2014 and $2.19 billion in the third quarter of 2015, according to its website.
Nicholas is also known for his self-named foundation that works to improve communities by investing in youth sports, education, and medical research, and Justice for Homicide Victims in honor of his sister, who was shot to death by her ex-boyfriend in 1983. Nicholas also campaigned for Marcy's Law, which established a crime victim's bill of rights in California.
Nicholas and several Broadcom executives were indicted in 2008 on charges of stock fraud and options backdating. The charges eventually were dropped.
Also in 2008, a federal indictment was unsealed accusing him of distributing Ecstasy, cocaine, and methamphetamine at parties at his home in Laguna Hills, spiking people's drinks with drugs, hiring prostitutes for himself and Broadcom representatives, and using bribes and death threats to hide his illicit activities.
Those charges too were dropped.
Citing "court documents," the Los Angeles Times reported in July 2007 that a construction team had sued him for $150,000 in back wages, claiming Nicholas had them build a secret underground lair under his Laguna Hills mansion with hidden entrances to enable him to "indulge in his 'manic obsession with prostitutes' and 'addiction to cocaine and Ecstasy."
That suit was settled out of court. Nicholas' attorneys denied all of its allegations.