GOP financier of measures heads to rehab

Republican financier Henry Nicholas, who has donated nearly $6 million to two law-and-order ballot measures in 2008, has checked into rehab at the Betty Ford Center, according to a statement provided by his lawyer.

Nicholas, who ranked 47th on Forbes' annual list of the world's richest billionaires with an estimated net worth of $2.2 billion, “has been drinking too heavily” following the death of his father, according to the statement from his personal attorney, Bill Hake.

“The death of a beloved parent can be devastating to anyone,” said Hake. “For Nick it triggered a period of intense self-reflection and recognition that he has been drinking too heavily.”

The Orange County Register first reported Nicholas' admission to rehab.

Nicholas has bankrolled the signature-gathering drives of two measures this year. He gave $4.84 million to "Marsy's Law," which is a crime-victims' rights initiative named after his sister, and had been listed as the attendee of a Wednesday campaign launch outside the state Capitol.

Nicholas also donated $1 million to the anti-gang measure pushed by Assemblywoman Sharon Runner and her husband, Sen. George Runner. He is the largest donor to that campaign.

A co-founder of Broadcom Corp., Nicholas is facing other problems besides his drinking, including allegations of drug and prostitute-use at his Newport Beach home. He is also fighting his ex-wife in a custody battle.

“For more than 18 months Nick has undergone voluntary and random drug testing to dispel those false allegations,” Hake said in the statement. “During that period he had 200 blood and urine tests and none tested positive for drugs. However, a recent blood workup showed a liver panel well out of the normal range.”

Now he is entering the month-long rehabilitation clinic, his lawyer said.

Nicholas is also under investigation for the backdating of stock options during his tenure as CEO of Broadcom.