Bilked Out of $400K, Koch Bro Spends $35M to Investigate

Meet Bill Koch, the brother more interested in fine wine and art than politics
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 22, 2017 8:37 AM CDT
Bilked Out of $400K, Koch Bro Spends $35M to Investigate
William Koch, left, and his lawyer John Hueston hold bottles of wine outside Manhattan federal court, Friday, April 12, 2013. A jury concluded the wines were sold to Koch fraudulently at a 2005 auction.   (AP Photo/Larry Neumeister)

Bill Koch might not be the biggest name among his brothers, but he's got a pretty interesting claim to fame: The collector of fine wine and art discovered he'd bought $400,000 worth of wine that had once belonged to Thomas Jefferson that had, well, never really belonged to Jefferson. So what's a bilked billionaire to do about the fake four bottles in question? If you're Koch, you spend $35 million to figure out who was behind the scam, he tells 60 Minutes in an episode airing Sunday.

"There is a code of silence" in among collectors and auction houses about fakes, Koch says, which makes him "very unique in being the one who said 'I'm going to stand up for it. I'm going to shine a bright light on these fakers.'" He has collected judgments, including $1 million from a German who claimed to have found the Jefferson bottles, but he's not exactly getting his money back: "I spent over $35 million doing all that. I was a dog…on a bone," he says. "I wasn't going to give up." (More William Koch stories.)

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