He was a survivor of the Tremere antitribu massacre in Mexico City. He feared that if his existence was made known, then Saulot/Tremere would come searching for him. He was also wanted by the Nosferatu clan for the killing of their Justicar, Alonso Cristo Petrodon.
Nickolai kept his haven in a New York City hotel, using magical wards to keep others from discovering his location. But his most powerful weapon was his progeny Leopold. For it was Leopold who had been using the Eye of Hazimel, which turned him into an insanely powerful being.
Nickolai did not understand the Eye, but he was able to manipulate Leopold into doing his bidding, killing anyone who posed a threat to him. In the end, however, Leopold and the Eye were defeated by the Gangrel Ramona and her allies, and Nickolai was killed by Petrodon's clanmates Cock Robin and Calebros thanks to the help of Aisling Sturbridge.