For years, the 2013 bankruptcy of tech millionaire Halsey Minor left people wondering how he could have blown a fortune worth several hundreds of millions of dollars.
“In 2001, Minor’s net worth was $180 million. He sold CNET to CBS for $1.8 billion in 2008. By 2013, however, he was filing for bankruptcy, most likely due to his expensive taste in real estate, art, and horses,” Business Insider speculated earlier this year.
“For Halsey Minor, it may have been a fascination with houses, hotels, horses and art,” Bloomberg Business wrote in 2013.
It’s true, Halsey Minor, the founder of CNET.com and an early investor in Salesforce.com bought lavish estates in Virginia and San Francisco, a couple of race horses, as well as fine art. And yet, that’s not what caused his bankruptcy.
“The reality is, I turned my life over to lawyers—I had no involvement in my life,” he told Epoch Times in an exclusive interview, speaking openly about his bankruptcy and depression. “The horses I owned actually ended up being sold at a profit.”
Suffering from a severe bout of depression starting somewhere in 2006, Halsey just stopped caring. “When you go through [depression], you’re out. … You don’t care about anything,” he says.
In the end, things got so complicated, he had to chose Chapter 7 bankruptcy to wipe his slate clean. The process cleared his tax debts (around $11 million) and turned over all his assets (about $50 million at the time) to a trustee, who has been selling them off bit by bit to repay debts of as much as $100 million.
By 2013, Halsey didn’t have anything left, but he was free again.
During the process, he didn’t show up to court and never talked to the press. The 2008 financial crisis complicated the matter as some of his assets were frozen, resulting in legal fights with banks.
But he insists he could have handled the matter had he been fully fit.
“If you took the legal component out, it would have been a rough ride, but it would have been fine. I would’ve been perfectly capable of handling all of my affairs and maybe even coming out stronger,” he said.
He also thinks his lawyers didn’t do a particularly fine job. “Nobody solves problems who is billed by the hour.”
His Father’s Fight
For Halsey, the fight against depression was about more than just money. For him, it was about life and death.
Halsey’s biological father, whom he never met, committed suicide in 1994, while only 30 miles away from his son, without Halsey knowing.
“I have beaten the thing that killed my father,” he said.
But Halsey managed to make it through and even come out stronger. “So I’ve been very focused on doing everything I can, giving my body every chance to emerge. I started eating right, I started exercising. I’m way healthier now than I ever would’ve been had I not been through this,” he said.
And emerge he did. After declaring bankruptcy in 2013—which he calls “the most liberating thing” he’s ever done—Halsey founded his new cloud money company Uphold. The company is a direct result of the legal fights he had with banks during the depth of the financial crisis and during the depths of his depression.
“I wasn’t really mentally in a place to do anything about it then, but I thought a lot about it. When I emerged in 2012, and I had really emerged from this dark place of being in severe, utterly painful depression, it was the first thing I wanted to do. What I did end up doing was filing bankruptcy in March of 2013 and started this company the next month.”
Halsey hopes his story can be an inspiration for people to never give up. “It would be great if our life could always be daisies and roses from one end to the other but sometimes it’s not. But what I do as an entrepreneur is I take my experiences and I use them.”