Koch Brother Facing Federal Lawsuit For Allegedly Imprisoning Employee

(photo courtesy of forbes.com)

William Koch is facing a federal lawsuit for allegedly and illegally imprisoning and interrogating an employee. Kirby Martenson, a former executive for a number of Koch subsidiary companies, claims that he was fired, imprisoned, and interrogated for an excessive amount of time at the Old West ghost town replica that Koch built recently.

The Huffington Post said that, “John Houston Scott, an attorney for Kirby Martenson, a former executive for a number of Koch subsidiaries, confirmed the story to HuffPost, adding that he guessed the case could go to trial in a year,” which indicates that there is sufficient evidence to warrant a legitimate lawsuit.

Huffpost goes on, explaining,

“Kirby 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,” Brad Goldstein, director of corporate affairs for Oxbow, a Bill Koch company, said in a statement. “He is right. We absolutely investigated Martensen and determined that he did participate in the fraud against the company. We identified who was defrauding us and are pursuing appropriate action to hold them accountable. In fact, several of the wrongdoers have admitted their involvement and one has directly implicated Mr. Martensen in the scheme.”

Through his privately held companies — Oxbow Carbon and Huron Carbon — Bill Koch has given $3 million to the pro-Mitt Romney super PAC Restore Our Future. His more well-known brothers have given substantially more to the effort to elect the Republican presidential candidate.


“Any allegations of misconduct by Mr. Koch simply are untrue and stem from Martensen’s attempts to divert attention from his own wrongdoing,” said Goldstein.

However, in the lawsuit filed and elsewhere, Martenson disputes those claims. On Courthouse Newsyou can see the following:

Billionaire William Koch imprisoned and interrogated one of his executives at a secluded Aspen ranch, under a sheriff’s guard, because the executive suspected Koch’s companies of tax evasion, the employee claims in Federal Court.

“Martensen understood that the goal of this assignment was to help legitimize OCM’s Bahamian shell company,” according to the complaint in the Northern District of California. “This included, but was not limited to, discussions and negotiations concerning the sourcing of pet-coke and sales to Asian customers. Plaintiff was informed that the move to Asia was for tax purposes. More than 75 percent of Oxbow’s fuel-grade petroleum coke export profits were derived from its Asian trading business. Plaintiff has information and believes this relocation was part of a plan being implemented to evade paying taxes to the United States on profits in excess of $200,000,000 per year.

The billionaire allegedly used “false pretenses” to lure Martensen and other executives to Bear Ranch, his property near Aspen, in March.

“Following lunch Martensen and others were told by Mr. Koch that they would be interviewed by a compensation specialist as part of a 360 degree peer review. Martensen was then escorted to a small room and interviewed by two agents of Koch. The interview turned into an interrogation that lasted several hours. Martensen was accused of participating in a wide-ranging scheme to defraud Oxbow and Koch of millions of dollars, accepting bribes from competitors and ‘diverting freight to a known competitor.’

If the allegations are true, William Koch should face jail time. We know this won’t happen (since when do rich people go to jail?), but the fact that this case is seeing light is a step in the right direction for America. One must consider, though, to the fact that this is a power vs. power situation and if it had been an employee of lower status there is a good chance we never even would have heard of it.

Another disturbing part of the allegations is the sheriff’s participation in the holding of the ‘prisoners.’ Indeed, if there was no cause, what was the sheriff even doing there? It seems obvious that whether or not William Koch was in the wrong, the sheriff was, because he is obviously on Koch’s payroll. That is a disgusting mark of the all-too-common corruption in America.

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