The Other Koch Brother

In the shadow of his brothers' Tea Party fame, Bill Koch seems almost like a normal billionaire.

"He [Koch] embraced the whole green concept," says Paula Zagrecki, who was the finance director for international renewable-energy projects at Oxbow from 1995 to 2000.

Zagrecki remembers Koch as a detail-oriented boss, who was a "really personable, smart guy." He hired intelligent people, paid them well, relocated them to Florida, and rewarded them with bonuses. "He's really the opposite of what you expect from a billionaire," she says.

Brosh, an actor who was a financial analyst for Oxbow in the late '90s, is even more effusive. He says Koch's generosity to his employees changed the way Brosh viewed wealthy people. "With Bill Koch, I always felt that I got better than I gave," he says. "For me, that was a real life lesson."

Koch attended happy hours on Clematis Street, dancing with his underlings and listening to them sing on his birthday. Once, the billionaire hosted a work barbecue at his newly built mansion. Brosh gaped at the valuable Western art collection on the walls, the "piles and piles of the best steak," the two swimming pools, and the way Koch welcomed hundreds of guests into his home. "He was opening up his world that much to us," Brosh says.

At Oxbow, Koch installed a state-of-the-art gym and made his personal trainers available to employees for free. Several times, Zagrecki says, she'd find herself huffing and puffing on the StairMaster next to the boss. "He was kind of very normal," she says.

Yet the boss set a high standard. Koch's car would be first in the office parking lot by 7 a.m., Brosh says. If Zagrecki had to meet with him, she knew to be prepared. "There was definitely an expectation that you better have all the ducks lined up in a row," she says, "because he would definitely question you."

Sometimes, he would lose his temper. "It's his company. If he wanted to yell at you because you screwed up a $100 million investment, I think that's his right," Zagrecki says.

Meanwhile, his personal life had a habit of upstaging his professional accomplishments. In 1992, he won the nation's most prestigious sailing competition, the America's Cup. He spent $68 million to assemble the best team and build a faster boat, and sailed with the crew as a novice. Later, he would credit his "T3 philosophy for success—talent, teamwork, and technology." However, he was criticized in the press for the tax breaks he received for contributing to the foundation that funded his win.

Then, in 1994, as his legal battle with his brothers raged on, Vanity Fair wrote a profile labeling him "Wild Bill," the black sheep of the family. The insults may have come from his brothers, but Bill didn't help his own cause. "I could be a really nasty shit," he said in the article. "I would go up to my secretary [and say], 'You dumb shit, why'd you make that mistake?' I was that kind of guy."

A wine lover, he started a collection of 40,000 bottles worth more than $12 million, keeping them in a climate-controlled cellar with a computer system designed to locate every vintage. He also collected fine art and Western memorabilia—Renoir, Rodin, Jesse James's gun, General Custer's rifle.

His appetite for women was easily as voracious as his love of wine. In 1995—a year after he got married—he tried to evict his mistress, an elegant, blond former model named Catherine de Castelbajac, from a condo he owned at the Four Seasons Hotel in Boston. Castelbajac refused to leave, and filed a palimony suit, claiming Koch had promised to support her financially for the rest of her life. Soon, the embarrassing details of the geeky billionaire's love life emerged in a Boston courtroom. Jurors learned that Bill was seeing three other women aside from Castelbajac (including his first wife, Joan Granlund, and a girlfriend, Marie Beard, with whom he would have a daughter). Koch and Castelbajac exchanged lurid love notes via fax, such as one Castelbajac signed, "Hot Love from Your X-rated Protestant Princess." When jurors finally ordered Castelbajac to leave the apartment, they didn't sympathize with either party. "Neither of them is a prize," mechanic William Tracia Jr. told the Boston Globe.

In 1996, Koch, then 56, married his second wife, Angela, who was nearly 18 years younger than him. That was a stormy relationship, too.

One evening in July 2000, police were called to the Kochs' summer home in Cape Cod. Angela alleged that Bill had punched her in the stomach while she held their one-year-old daughter. The cops issued a restraining order against him, and for a few months he was banished to their beach house—a cottage that's separate from their main mansion on Palm Beach.

In the divorce fight that followed, Angela and Bill accused each other, according to court documents, of having drinking problems. She complained that he fired her favorite chef and the nanny. He hired private detectives to trail her in Palm Beach.

Eventually, they reached a settlement that gave Angela a lump sum of $16 million, in addition to child support payments. The deal, outlined in Palm Beach Circuit Court documents, was to be "null and void" unless the domestic violence case against Bill in Massachusetts was dismissed. As the lawyers finalized the terms of the deal in December 2000, Angela refused to testify in the case, and the prosecutor dropped the criminal assault and battery charge against Koch.

« Previous Page
 |
 
1
 
2
 
3
 
4
 
5
 
All
 
Next Page »
 
My Voice Nation Help
20 comments
tcatjohnson
tcatjohnson

Sounds like all three Koch brothers need a visit from the Red Brigades. 

tcatjohnson
tcatjohnson

Sounds like pretty much the same flavor of asshole to me...

Rich
Rich

"he's not his brother's keeper" says his spokesman. pretty much sums up the koch brothers' philosophy of life.

Rhonda Mike
Rhonda Mike

I personally do not think it told of the bad things they all do, but they all DO have good points too.... I seem to like the "black sheep" of the family Bill best..(perhaps I can relate) They are an interesting family..... I pray that their eyes will be opened and see the need to pay tax ......Everyone needs health care... everyone needs a job that pays enough to go back and forth. The unions are needed, as they help to make things better for employees etc....We do need free schools and colleges for ALL who chose to go...

Emilio Lizardo
Emilio Lizardo

You want to know how 400 families own as much of American assets as the poorest 150 million Americans, they manipulated the government to help transfer that wealth.

The direct consequence is that overall demand has dropped through the floor. We've just recreated the great depression.

LadyKisha
LadyKisha

I just paíd $20.87 for an íPad 2.64GB and my girl-friend loves her Panasoníc Lumíx GF 1 Cámera that we got for $38.79 there arriving tomorrow by UP S.I will never pay such expensive retail príces in stores again. Especially when I also sold a 40 inch LCD T V to my boss for $657 which only cost me $62.81 to buy. Here is the website we use to get it all from, BidsBit.com

keiraKnightly
keiraKnightly

I just paíd $20.87 for an íPad 2.64GB and my girl-friend loves her Panasoníc Lumíx GF 1 Cámera that we got for $38.79 there arriving tomorrow by UP S.I will never pay such expensive retail príces in stores again. Especially when I also sold a 40 inch LCD T V to my boss for $657 which only cost me $62.81 to buy. Here is the website we use to get it all from, BidsBit.com

Tommy Tank
Tommy Tank

Perhaps the reporter might have contacted some of the actual people who opposed the sweetheart land deal, that would close public access and which was specifically kept public to provide such.

Or looked into the lies and slander being published in ads weekly by an astroturf group run out of a Denver law firm?

One-sided fluff piece. Disappointing

Barack
Barack

"know that your most worthy of efforts will be scorned by your peers for it is they who suffer when you excel. Should your actions and ambitions threaten them not, you are simply striving towards the insignificant."

We are all born into this world and must make tough decisions. I think protesting Sci-Fi wind farms off the coast of Mass. is a good protest. Too often we here of these grand ideas to save the planet. I would like to track how much the public will pay for these fans and how much the government will receive as their kick back. Fans off the coast of Mass. saving the planet is like building a sling shot on the coast of California to fly people to China without burning fuel. What a joke.

And how many people die every year in Massachusetts building Large Fans? I hope no more than two. This just in: Digging for coal is dangerous. It's not for everyone. Maybe we should stop using coal as a society for a year and see how many lives are saved. From my understanding, coal miners continue showing up for work every morning knowing what the dangers are.

Why do media outlets and activists want to make the public feel as though they are victims and Billionaire's responsible for a sliver of American independence from foreign energy suppliers are the villains? I'm lost. The facts are in and our neighbors to the South are prospering because of the tax cuts given to big businesses choosing to relocate and this is how we speak of the ones trying to keep their business here in our Country? So strange.

jenniferLy
jenniferLy

I just paíd $20.87 for an íPad 2.64GB and my boyfriend loves his Panasoníc Lumíx GF 1 Cámera that we got for $38.79 there arriving tomorrow by UP S.I will never pay such expensive retail príces in stores again. Especially when I also sold a 40 inch LCD T V to my boss for $657 which only cost me $62.81 to buy.Here is the website we use to get it all from : http://BidsBit.com

orwellsworstnightmare
orwellsworstnightmare

He is much less offensive than his brothers, David H. and Charles T. Koch. Compared to them, he is almost a class act. He is, however, still a Koch.

Nancy Bulger
Nancy Bulger

It's unfortunate that Bill Koch had a difficult childhood. Many of us would also like to discuss ours, but moreso, we are trying to live well now, and not at the expense of polluters who would sacrifice our best interest to their fortune. Cape Wind is not the toy protest of Bill Koch, nor should their spokesman or the goal of their renewable energy project receive any less credit than Bill's donations to various causes, which in no way make up for the deaths by coal emissions that his huge industry causes. Bill should turn his various donations and do-good philanthopy into investment in technologies like offshore wind. This would be a great way to make up for a past. Maybe all his ex-wives and girlfriends would like him better too.

Zero Emissions
Zero Emissions

Why doesn't Bill Koch fund some pump out stations in every Nantucket Sound port to stop the raw sewerage from ferry boats and recreational boaters from fouling it? There are 3 million ferry passengers using the Sound yearly and 5 million private boaters. I live on Nantucket Island and think about pollution every time I jump in the water. Yuk! Wind turbines are pollution free and don't use water or any fossil fuels during operation. Just think of all the fish larve that are killed every year at the Mirant Power Station on the Cape Cod Canal by the plant's cooling system. Cape Wind is going to happen: it is just a question of time. No power plant in our nation's history has ever been more closely reviewed. The stack of paper is literally about 9 feet tall! I can't wait to sail amongst those graceful giants on a boat and marvel at them.

Clean Air Lover
Clean Air Lover

Koch has donated far more than the 1.5 million to the opposition group to Cape Wind reported in this article and he used his dirty energy company, Oxbow, to funnel nearly one million in lobbying expenses against Cape Wind, he also directly pays the salary of the opposition group's CEO according to their Form 990 filed with the IRS.

tomdurk
tomdurk

So is it good that he is not quite as slimy as his brothers? It is good that his astroturf party is not the Tea Party. But a 42,000 foot house? Taking 18,999 acres of federal property for a private ranch? He also inherited billions, continues to pollute in his oil & coke industries (with huge externalities), and has thrown significant money into starting a highly litigious astroturf group (The Alliance to Protect Our View) fighting against Cape Wind.

Womanphoenix
Womanphoenix

"One-sided fluff piece"? You must think that domestic-abuse allegations (or dumping renewables for coal) reflect well on a man.

Palin
Palin

Sorry, dude, but Cape Wind's going to do just.fine: http://www.renewableenergyworl...

In fact, the only thing its well-heeled NIMBY foes can say about it now is that it won't be the first US offshore wind project -- that honor may well go to a Texas project that is being pushed to completion, spurred on by Cape Wind's success over the billionaire oil trustafarians and old-money dynasties that opposed it.

Emilio Lizardo
Emilio Lizardo

Domestic abuse allegations are a staple of divorce. In this case worth 16 mil. 70% of domestic abuse is initiated by the woman. And it's mom that's most likely to harm the kids. DV is a scam issue.

Yea, it's a fluff piece, but hey, it's the 'Voice'.

 
New York Concert Tickets

Around The Web

Loading...