Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

EPA at Hands of Latest Problem for Koch in Form of Pollution Penalties

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

EPA at Hands of Latest Problem for Koch in Form of Pollution Penalties

Article excerpt

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The pollution penalties handed down Thursday by the Environmental Protection Agency against Koch Industries are the latest in a series of problems for the Wichita, Kan.-based company.

The company's doings, involving one of America's richest families, read like scripts from such departed nighttime dramas as Dallas or Dynasty. The list includes everything from intrafamily squabbles to political intrigue to long, multimillion-dollar court battles.

These examples from the past three years alone:

* Bill Koch, one of the four sons of founder Fred Koch, sued the two brothers who run Koch Industries -- one of them his own twin. His suit claimed they cheated him and other dissident stockholders out of millions of dollars.

* A federal jury in Tulsa found that Koch underreported the amount and quality of oil it purchased between 1985 and 1989 from federal and Indian leases and should compensate the government.

* And the company's political contributions and involvement in public affairs came into question.

Koch has won its share of legal battles, though -- including the biggest, an assault mounted by Bill Koch that widened the split in the already-divided family.

Last June, after listening to 10 weeks of testimony, a federal jury decided that Charles Koch, the chairman and chief executive officer of Koch Industries, did not cheat dissident stockholders when those stockholders sold their interests in 1983.

The former stockholders, led by Bill Koch, had sought $339 million in damages. With interest and punitive damages, the figure could have exceeded $1 billion.

Bill Koch -- the twin brother of Koch executive vice president David Koch -- didn't give up, though. He continued to pursue a whistleblower lawsuit that led to another federal jury's verdict against Koch Industries later in the year.

In December, a jury in Tulsa, found that Koch had underreported its oil purchases in almost 25,000 instances. …

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