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Broke the Koch Brothers' Takeover of America
What You Should Know / May 17, 2010

img-732 -- Billionaire David H. Koch earned degrees in chemical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology but fell in love with dance at the Boston Ballet. He moved to New York and began building his fortune through Koch Industries Inc., the oil and chemical holding company started by his father, Fred C. Koch. He made generous gifts to New York’s American Ballet Theatre and the New York City Ballet while confining his own fancy moves to other venues. “The only dancing I did was at the discotheques,” said the 6-foot-5 Koch by phone from his New York office, who also set a scoring record on MIT’s basketball team. “I was a very good disco dancer. I say that I learned disco dancing at the wrong places.” He also became a fan of other New York cultural institutions, including the Metropolitan Opera, though his first love remains ballet. “I’m so used to seeing these incredible athletes who jump and pirouette onstage, and that’s what I miss when I see opera,” Koch said. ABT, which opens its 70th anniversary season tonight, will honor Koch and his quarter century of service on its board. Michelle Obama, the gala’s honorary chairman, Robert DeNiro, Isabella Rossellini and Caroline Kennedy are among the 970 guests expected. They’ll dine on pan-roasted baby chicken, gnocchi, mushrooms and Swiss chard under a tent next to the Met opera house. The evening will feature excerpts from “Sleeping Beauty,” “Swan Lake” (Act III) and Twyla Tharp’s “The Brahms-Hayden Variations.” Company Deficit Koch said he has given $500,000 a year in donations and millions more to help fund individual ballets. The ABT reported a deficit of about $882,000 in 2009 on a budget of $37 million. Koch gave a matching grant of $2.5 million for ABT’s $5 million production of “The Nutcracker,” which it will present in lieu of a fall season. So far, ABT has raised $1.7 million toward that goal. Koch, who ranks 24th on Forbes magazine’s 2010 list of billionaires with an estimated worth of $17.5 billion, also supports other cultural institutions in New York. He gave $100 million in 2008 to modernize and spruce up the David H. Koch Theater at the Lincoln Center, the home of the New York City ballet and opera. He created the David H. Koch Dinosaur Wing at the American Museum of Natural History. In April, he made a gift of more than $10 million to renovate the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s plaza and fountains. A prostate cancer survivor, he gave $1 million through his David H. Koch Charitable Foundation in 2008 to New York- Presbyterian Hospital for prostate-cancer research and about $1.7 million to the Prostate Cancer Foundation in Santa Monica, California. Tax Increases

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  • 1. mike from Arlington  |  May 17th, 2010 at 7:00 pm

    …except she won’t be there so this article is moot.

  • 2. RecoverylessRecovery  |  May 17th, 2010 at 9:10 pm

    Very interesting article. Thanks.

    Hey btw, shouldn’t someone be filing all this evidence away somewhere for future safekeeping?

    You know, to use for future criminal indictments whenever rule of law finally returns to the U.S.

    OK, …IF ever…

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