Letters to the Editor

Koch crimes

September 26, 2010


To the editor:

Billionaire Charles Koch reportedly runs privately held Koch Industries as an autocrat, so a case can be made that he is responsible for any malfeasance.

In 2000, a federal grand jury issued a 97-count indictment against the company for knowingly releasing 91 metric tons of benzene and concealing this crime from regulators. The company was subject to $350 million in fines, and four Koch employees faced a combined total of 100 years in prison and $50 million in fines.

Also in 2000, the Justice Department imposed a $30 million fine against Koch, the largest civil penalty ever levied against a company under federal environmental laws. It was determined that Koch was negligent in causing more than 300 oil spills that polluted waters in six states, including Kansas.

A federal jury issued a verdict in 1999 that Koch Industries had, “purposely falsified oil measurements on federal and Indian lands, a practice that allowed it to collect more oil than it paid for. Several Koch employees testified that they were instructed to alter their measurements. Koch Industries admitted it received about $170 million worth of oil it didn’t pay for.”

To paraphrase Balzac, “Behind every great fortune lies a great crime.” Maybe several crimes.


cato_the_elder 7 years, 8 months ago

To the letter writer: Jealousy and envy will make you an unhappy soul. Balzac was a great critic of the human condition, but he often exaggerated for effect. Grow a pair and run a business of your own successfully. Then others will be jealous and envious of you.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 8 months ago

So as long as their politics are (far) right, their crimes are just part of doing business, right?

cato_the_elder 7 years, 8 months ago

No, Bozo. Wrongdoings perpetrated by those in government and business occur daily without knowledge on the part of those who hold highest office in whatever organization is involved. The letter is a facile, lame attempt to hold Charles Koch personally responsible for the alleged malfeasance of a few people who have worked for Koch Industries.

My point was simply that instead of admiring Charles Koch and his companies for employing many thousands of fellow Americans and thus providing sustenance to them and their families, the letter writer clearly resents the fact that Koch is a wealthy, successful business leader. Because your business accomplishments, if any, are next to none, I'm sure you do too.

woodscolt 7 years, 8 months ago

Interesting how cato can always justify crimes by those he aligns himself with and then turn around and make complete fabrications about posters he knows nothing about except they they don't condone the known criminal activities that cato justifies (by insulting those posters) Cato, your a real piece of work.

cato_the_elder 7 years, 8 months ago

Woodscolt, it's "you're," thank you. As for Bozo's lack of any meaningful business experience or success, having conversed with him often I can assure you that he's quite proud of that and wouldn't have it any other way. Having posted on this site for as long as you have, I'm surprised that you wouldn't have known that.

As for Charles Koch, if you have any hard evidence that he personally directed any of the acts complained of by the letter writer, let's see it.

woodscolt 7 years, 8 months ago

Good ole cato, make up stuff about other posters and spell checking is all it takes to justify the criminal activity of those he aligns himself with. Got nothing to going on so cato makes himself feel important correcting typos. Like I said cato, you a real piece of work.

cato_the_elder 7 years, 8 months ago

Woodscolt, spell checking wouldn't have caught your error, so that's strike two. I presume that your current misspelling is intentional. At least I hope so.

Bozo, help me out here. Woodscolt seems to think that you're a captain of industry.

By the way, woodscolt, I'm still waiting for hard evidence that Charles Koch personally directed any of the acts complained of by the letter writer.

cato_the_elder 7 years, 8 months ago

Edjayhawk, you apparently didn't read my response to Bozo. I suggest that you do so.

Charles Koch is also a major philanthropist.

It looks like you may also be a victim of jealousy and envy disease. Get over it - you'll be much happier.

Flap Doodle 7 years, 8 months ago

The call to give the Koch brothers the Alinsky treatment is being answered by thousands of drones all across the county. You should talk about how wonderfully Communism is doing in Cuba these days, bub.

uncleandyt 7 years, 8 months ago

"the Alinsky treatment", Now where do you suppose that you heard that from?? Please recognize the absurdity of complaining, almost daily, about the cut and paste action of others while most of what you offer is verbatim Freak Luntz. I keep seeing all_crackle_no_snap. Do they pay you?, or are you repeating the Right stuff as a volunteer? Have a nicer day on the computer. I'll try not to drunk-post much more.

weeslicket 7 years, 8 months ago

such odd responses. i read the lte again, and i still don't see any references to jealousy, envy or communism. inferring "the alinsky treatment", perhaps.

are paragraphs 2-4 factually correct, or not?

monkeyhawk 7 years, 8 months ago

I wonder how many jobs the LTE writer provides or how many charities have been established by Mr. Coan? We get it that the bozos hate capitalism and are only relieved when when they can blow off some of that class envy induced steam. Keep on being who you are.

Flap Doodle 7 years, 8 months ago

It's funnier to see creative_mind quoting his own fictional history of Lawrence as fact over on larryville.

Paul R Getto 7 years, 8 months ago

The Kochs aren't evil, just rich. They have good lawyers, which accounts for some of their success. Envy is not pretty, but clearly those with the gold try hard to make the rules. Sunshine is the best remedy to understand how the rich manilupate the system. Most of those who object would do the same if they had similar resources. The Kochs, like many other super-rich, give lots of money to charity. While we should laud these efforts, we must never forget their is a reason for this, some of which goes beyond the obvious tax benefits of munificence.

tomatogrower 7 years, 8 months ago

So we are suppose to let anyone who gives money to charity and owns a business the right to pollute anywhere they want? How about offering your backyard, monkeyhawk? How about your basement? Step up and let those rich guys you fawn all over pollute your property. Maybe they'll throw you a bone, or let you lick their boots. You think any of this pollution happens anywhere close to their homes? And by all means, steal from Indian tribes. That's been fashionable for a long time. Or why don't you let them drill in your backyard, and take anything they find. They are rich, they deserve it. Let them sleep with your wife too. They are rich, they don't need to follow laws and morals.

monkeyhawk 7 years, 8 months ago

Kind of a hysterical rant... it seems as if you know the Koch family personally?

The ragers have merely replaced WalMart with the Kochs. The target du jour for the political season. I never had a poor person give me a job - I'm sure tomato baby is no exception.

"The company was subject to $350 million in fines, and four Koch employees faced a combined total of 100 years in prison and $50 million in fines.

A federal jury issued a verdict in 1999 that Koch Industries had, “purposely falsified oil measurements on federal and Indian lands, a practice that allowed it to collect more oil than it paid for. Several Koch employees testified that they were instructed to alter their measurements. Koch Industries admitted it received about $170 million worth of oil it didn’t pay for.”

So, what was the disposition of these cases? The LTE writer is as lacking in detail as the rookie LJW staff.

Mike Ford 7 years, 8 months ago

oh really, read about what they did through intermediaries to the Osage Nation of Oklahoma criminally under reporting oil production a decade or so ago. Bob Dole was so prepared to bend over backwards for these clowns that 60 Minutes did a segment called "What wouldn't Bob Dole do for Big Oil". These guys remind me of the character in "There will be Blood" who was crazy ruthless with no regulations in the early 1900's yeah that's what they want.

brewmaster 7 years, 8 months ago

All of the cases that Mr. Coan describes are true. They are a matter of public legal records. Most of those cases were a result of in-fighting between the Koch brothers. Bill Koch instigated legal actions and whistle-blowing law suits agaisnt Koch Industries for several years during the 1980's and 1990's. Oddly, he adruptly ceased all action agaisnt his brothers and Koch Industries in 2000.

Coincidentally, beginning in 2000 the Republican Bush administration exerted significant influence agaisnt the Justic Department to cease action agaisnt Koch. The cases were essentially dropped in exchange for Koch aaccepting responsibility for minor environmental breaches and the fines were reduced to minuscule amounts. Money and politics go hand-in-hand.

Jimo 7 years, 8 months ago

That billionaires use their gain to hire lawyers to protect them from justice is their right.

That billionaires use bribes to gain special favors from politicians is predictable.

That billionaires would find their boots licked by the poor rabble they step upon is bizarre.

Jimo 7 years, 8 months ago

It's one thing to understand and respect the use of markets to allocate resources and deploy capital. (After all, it's a key distinction between social democrats vs. communists.) It's quite another to masterbate to Forbes' annual survey of the world's wealthiest people. (That's just pathetic.)

Richard Heckler 7 years, 8 months ago

The Koch brothers do participate in corruption but then so do many law makers which makes it a bit simpler. Like attract like...... when it comes to crime and/or corruption.

For instance:

Why would a country ever vote republican again after these crimes against america?

  1. Bush Reagan Iran – Contra Secret Weapons Affair http://www.fas.org/irp/offdocs/walsh/execsum.htm http://www.cnn.com/2010/POLITICS/03/24/spy.network.probe/index.html

  2. Nixon's Watergate http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/special/watergate/index.html

  3. Bush/Cheney dropping the ball thus 9/11/01

  4. The Bush/Cheney money hole aka their multi-trillion dollar violent occupation of Iraq,Afghanistan,Pakistan

  5. The Reagan/Bush Savings and Loan Heist http://rationalrevolution0.tripod.com/war/bush_family_and_the_s.htm

  6. Bush family of politicians "Rebuilding America's Defences," openly advocates for total global military domination. Many PNAC members held highest-level positions in the George W. Bush administration. http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Project_for_the_New_American_Century

  7. The Bush/Cheney Wall Street Bank Fraud on Consumers http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2009/0709macewan.html

  8. What did Bush and Henry Paulson do with the $700 billion of bail out money? http://www.democracynow.org/2009/9/10/good_billions_after_bad_one_year

  9. Why did GW Bush Lie About Social Security?( This would cost taxpayers $4 trillion,place taxpayers insurance money at risk and wreck the economy) http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2005/0505orr.html

  10. Still A Bad Idea – Bush Tax Cuts - The ENTITLEMENT program for the wealthy at the expense of the middle class http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2001/0301miller.html

  11. The "tea parties" BTW are part of the wreckanomics program funded by the Koch Brothers... well known oil billionaires. These thinkers back a tax payers bill of rights which is another scheme to reward the upper 1% AKA The Other ENTITLEMENT Program for the Wealthy http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2005/0705rebne.html

Isn't it odd each time our nations financial institutions crumble there are Bush family near by and a McCain still in office? http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/1989-11-29/news/mccain-the-most-reprehensible-of-the-keating-five/1

This type of corruption needs investigated: http://www.commondreams.org/views04/0208-05.htm http://www.inthesetimes.com/article/4120/we_arm_the_world/

Is it doing any good to elect the same elected officials time after time? Why do voters most always support the biggest spenders in local,state and federal elections?

The republican history is a bit too corrupt for my blood.

Flap Doodle 7 years, 8 months ago

Woo hoo! We've not seen that set of links in at least a couple of days! How many times have you posted them now? 200 times? 300 times? Do you even keep a count?

Richard Heckler 7 years, 8 months ago

Considering the Koch brothers spend big bucks supporting Tea Party and republican activities I contend the Tea Party was born to distract voters from the fact that repubs destroyed retirement plans,medical insurance coverage,lost 11 million jobs and in general destroyed the economy AGAIN! The Tea Party is a plan to dupe america.

The Tea Party and the Republican Party are no different. The Tea Party came about because people such as the Koch boys and other right thinking billionaires became concerned that there would be reprisal over Bush/Cheney destroying the economy like Reagan/Bush did.

SOOO the Tea Party is born and now the right thinking special interest groups have more ways to spend their money and dupe america at the same time.

blindrabbit 7 years, 8 months ago

As Mr. Machiavelli said "the ends justify the means" and Mr. Gekko promoted "greed is good"; it's just part of doing business today in a Capitalistic Economy that emphasizes personal wealth rather than social good. No championing Socialism, but moral and ethical business practices don't seem to fit the profitable business plan. I'm not fooling myself that they can co-exist in our society.

Koch has been implicated in all kinds of environmental issues in the past. While they have no-doubt done good as far as employment is concerned; their lobbying and political contributions towards deflecting penalties and punishment are like that of their petro-chemical buddies B-P, Kerr-McGee, Union Carbide, Monsanto, etc, etc.

Benzine is a known carcinogen, by inhalation, ingestion and skin contact an low ppm ranges and a efficient polluter of underground water sources. Maybe, we need to get Ellen Brokovich to come back to her native Lawrence and Wichita to more this to a justifiable conclusion.

jafs 7 years, 8 months ago

Without greed, moral and ethical business practices could co-exist with capitalism.

Unfortunately, that doesn't happen very often.

pureamerican 7 years, 8 months ago

I find it funny and amusing that all of the posts slamming the Koch company, reference incidents that happened nearly a decade ago. Regardless of who was responsible back then, does anyone have any recent findings against the company? Perhaps, as previous posts suggest, those responsible are no longer with the company, and as a result the company is now more dedicated than ever to compliance with all state and federal regulations.

Jay Keffer 7 years, 8 months ago

Is this the same Mr. Coan that once upon a time spliced a few frames into a movie trailer at a Lawrence theater in an attempt to experiment with subliminal messages? And was subsequently fired after patrons noticed and complained to management?

Flap Doodle 7 years, 8 months ago

CC once actually held a job? Inconceivable!

weeslicket 7 years, 8 months ago

starting a side thread, here: fact: i've taken to watching "undercover boss" on sunday tv. opinion: this is a very instructive show to watch.
persuasion: you should watch this show a few times. question: what would koch industries look like in one of these segments?

independant1 7 years, 8 months ago

There's a lot of folks with an ax to grind when it comes to those that are wealthy and in opposition to the progressive agenda.

Bob Hechlor 7 years, 8 months ago

Sam Brownback, who already thinks he has sewed up the governorship is working for the Koch brothers, as is the Chamber of Commerce. They want a license to build another coal fired plant before the new regulations go into effect. That way they don't have to spend so much on new technology to reduce pollution, but they still want to do ads pronouncing how "clean" coal is. This clearly demonstrates the relationship between big money and establishment Washington Senators who collude against the interests of the "little people."

Bob Hechlor 7 years, 8 months ago

Could all the right wing parrots who come here please tell me why liberals would envy the Koch brothers. What about them is enviable?

Bob Hechlor 7 years, 8 months ago

"According to an August 30, 2010 article in The New Yorker magazine, "In 1999, a jury found Koch Industries guilty of negligence and malice in the deaths of two Texas teen-agers in an explosion that resulted from a leaky underground butane pipeline. (In 2001, the company paid an undisclosed settlement.) And in the final months of the Clinton Presidency the Justice Department levelled a ninety-seven-count indictment against the company, for covering up the discharge of ninety-one tons of benzene, a carcinogen, from its refinery in Corpus Christi, Texas. The company was liable for three hundred and fifty million dollars in fines, and four Koch employees faced up to thirty-five years in prison. The Koch Petroleum Group eventually pleaded guilty to one criminal charge of covering up environmental violations, including the falsification of documents, and paid a twenty-million-dollar fine. David Uhlmann, a career prosecutor who, at the time, headed the environmental-crimes section at the Justice Department, described the suit as “one of the most significant cases ever brought under the Clean Air Act.”[3]"


Bob Hechlor 7 years, 8 months ago

A company is responsible for any damage it causes. The company cannot say, well my employees did it. They can't say, it was that company we contracted with. That doesn't let them off of the hook. Whether accidental or intentional, the responsibility lies with the company that will be profiting. Many writers that come here, fail to recognize that the methods we have been using to get our energy, are dangerous and polluting, to the point of impacting on millions of people. One can deny that, as long as you don't really look into it. When you do look into it, the health system will reveal the numerous problems with the abundance of toxic chemicals associated with the energy production. We now have better answers and they must be taken advantage of if we want to be healthy in the future. The cozy relationship that these wealthy energy producers have with our legislators, makes it possible for them to go on pushing their product off on us and preventing us from getting resources devoted to the expansion of cleaner energy and more efficient use of energy. We subsidize the dirty products which prevents us from making use of the clean to the extent that is possible.

BigPrune 7 years, 8 months ago

After voting for it 20 years ago, where the hell is my south Lawrence trafficway? How many people will have to die driving a now super 2-lane highway to nowhere? I say 'now' since it was originally going to be a 4-lane road.

Bob Hechlor 7 years, 8 months ago

How did it get to be your personal trafficway?

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