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.