Apparently, billionaire William Koch picked the wrong hobby when he started collecting wine. He’s seems to buy a lot of expensive fake wine. Last year, we told you about a suit by Mr. Koch over fake wine that allegedly belonged to Thomas Jefferson. That suit was ultimately dismissed on the statute of limitations. Well, he clearly wasn’t deterred from pressing forward with other similar lawsuits.
Earlier this month, according to the New York Daily News, he went to trial claiming that a wine dealer sold him 24 bottles of a bogus vintage bordeaux. A New York jury found his claim to be true and felt that this dastardly deed warranted $12 million dollars in punitive damages. Mr. Koch originally spent $300,000 on the 24 bottles of “vintage” bordeaux, which he bought from Eric Greenberg. The wine turned out to not be the real deal. Koch blamed Greenberg for intentionally selling him the bogus wine and perpetuating a “code of silence in the [vintage wine] industry.” Mr. Greenberg claimed that he offered to refund Mr. Koch his money when he learned that the bottles of wine were fake. But that was not good enough for the billionaire. Only a lawsuit and millions of dollars in punitive damages could right this wrong. The jury awarded him $380,000 in actual damages and $12 million in punitive damages.
Lest you think Mr. Koch is just some out of touch billionaire that likes to spend more on wine than you spent on your home, we note that he plans to put $12 million verdict to good use. Koch said he would use the money to “set up a fund to go after wine fraud and auction fraud.” He’s bound and determined to put an end to the travesty of really rich people buying expensive fake booze.
It isn’t helping starving kids in Africa, but its something.