Ex-exec sues Koch
Man says he was held captive for concerns about tax-dodge plan
By David E. Rovella BLOOMBERG NEWS
NEW YORK — William Koch allegedly held a senior executive of his Oxbow energy company captive after discovering his concerns with a plan to evade U.S. taxes on $200 million in profit, the official said in a lawsuit.
Former Oxbow Senior Vice President Kirby Martensen alleged that an internal company probe revealed his misgivings about a plan by Oxbow Carbon & Minerals to evade taxes. As a result, Martensen said, he was falsely imprisoned for almost two days by Koch’s agents and interrogated at a remote Colorado ranch as part of an effort to intimidate him. He also was fired, he said.
- Koch, who Forbes estimates is worth close to $4 billion, is the brother of conservative tea party funders David Koch and Charles Koch. Martensen, promoted last year to senior vice president of Oxbow, said he was lured to the billionaire’s Bear Ranch near Aspen in March on false pretenses and questioned about anonymous allegations of wrongdoing against him tied to a kickback scheme and a related investigation by the firm.
- “Based on this surreptitious review of plaintiff’s emails and voice communications, Koch learned that Martensen and others expressed concern of the legality of what they were doing on behalf of Oxbow and their distrust of upper management,” according to the complaint, filed Thursday in San Francisco federal court. “As a result, William Koch promoted and implemented a plan to intimidate and discredit plaintiff for the purpose of chilling his speech and damaging his credibility.”
Koch, 72, who made his fortune partly by developing underground coal deposits in Somerset, Colo., maintains a working cattle operation at Bear Ranch, southwest of Aspen. Oxbow, a West Palm Beach, Fla.-based petroleum coke export broker, and two affiliates have combined annual sales of more than $4 billion and more than 1,100 employees worldwide, the company said.
In a statement on its website, the firm says that Martensen’s lawsuit was filed in response to litigation in Florida state court related to an alleged $40 million fraud at the company.
The company denies the allegations in Martensen’s lawsuit.
“Martensen states in a lawsuit that we investigated him for participating in a wide-ranging scheme to defraud, accepting bribes and diverting business from our company,” the online statement says. “He is right. We absolutely investigated Martensen.”
John Scott, Martensen’s lawyer, declined to comment on Oxbow’s allegations.
(Poor Martensen. . . . guess nobody warned him that when you lie down . . . . you know – – the flea thing. This is very sad news for the country, . . . . does anybody know how many sons that ole man spawned? Egads, how many of these can the country handle?
We’ll try to put in a good word for you Kirby, hang in there! (you may have a couple of million friends out here)
Like so many other super-wealthy folks – – millionaires, billionaires and the like, they are just seeking some relief from that huge tax burden. It’s like it must be encoded in the genes. Waste not, want not or something like that. Oh, the lengths to which they will go. It just makes sense, doesn’t it? (Except to roughly 99% of the country, but what do we know? Jan)