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Billionaire Gives 'River Dave' Enough to Rebuild Cabin

The $180K from Alex Karp will be combined with thousands in other donations
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 20, 2021 1:26 AM CDT
Alex Karp Gives 'River Dave' Enough to Rebuild Cabin
David Lidstone, 81, sits near the Merrimack River, Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2021, in Boscawen, N.H.   (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

(Newser) – The New Hampshire hermit known as "River Dave" can add a tech billionaire to the list of benefactors who've come to his aid after the cabin he'd lived in for nearly 30 years off the grid burned down. Alexander Karp, co-founder and CEO of software company Palantir Technologies, gave 81-year-old David Lidstone a personal check for $180,000, the Concord Monitor reports. The money, plus thousands more raised in multiple GoFundMe campaigns, will be used to build a new home for Lidstone in the spring. Temporary housing has been arranged for the winter, a friend says.

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"How can I express myself and my gratitude towards something like that? I start to tear up whenever I think about it," Lidstone says. The home he built near the Merrimack River burned down amid a property dispute (the land owner considered Lidstone a squatter, but Lidstone says that's not true), and since the incident made headlines, other entities have offered to let Lidstone rebuild on their land. Officials say the fire, which happened while Lidstone was temporarily jailed for refusing to leave the land, was accidental, the Union-Leader reports. Lidstone says he'll have the land where he used to live surveyed, and if it is found to not belong to the man who claims he owns it, he'll sign over any rights he has to the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department. (Palantir also made headlines Thursday for its unusual investment.)

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