David Koch, the billionaire industrialist who was a major funder of conservative politics and New York City’s second-richest resident, died Friday. He was 79.
With a net worth of $50.5 billion, he was tied with his brother Charles as the 11th-richest person in the world, according to Forbes. In June 2018, Koch retired from Wichita-based Koch Industries, his family’s massive company whose businesses ranged from paper manufacturing to oil refineries.
Born in Wichita in 1940, Koch made New York his home in recent decades — and he made some splashy real estate plays in the city.
In the 1990s, Koch spent $9.5 million to buy the former home of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis at 1040 Fifth Avenue. He sold it for $32 million in 2006, two years after moving to larger digs at 740 Park Avenue.
Koch paid $18 million for the Park Avenue co-op — an 18-room duplex at one of Manhattan’s most exclusive addresses. Dubbed “the world’s richest building,” the board reportedly requires buyers to have a net worth of at least $100 million. Koch’s neighbors included Blackstone’s Stephen Schwartzman and hedge funder Israel Englander.
But in 2016, a fire that started in the sixth-floor apartment of Ezra Merkin, former associate of Bernie Madoff, resulted in extensive water damage to the Koch’s abode. The family was forced to live in a hotel while it was repaired, according to Page Six. A few months later, the co-op was stripped of its limestone facade, after part of the stone crumbled and crashed to the ground. In 2016, Koch placed the unit in a trust, property records show.
Last year, Koch and his wife, Julia, paid $40.25 million in cash for an Upper East Side townhouse sold by developer Joseph Chetrit. The 36-foot wide mansion at 110 East 76th Street spans 15,000 square feet with a sprawling master suite, two wet bars and courtyard with inlaid tile.
Koch also had homes in the Hamptons, Palm Beach and Aspen. He owned a $23.2 million mansion on Meadow Lane in Southampton (which drew protestors to some political fundraisers hosted there.)
In Palm Beach, Koch paid $10.5 million for an estate at 150 South Ocean Boulevard in 1998. The 13-bedroom, 20,378-square-foot mansion was built in 1920 on nearly 2 acres of land across the street from the ocean, according to property records.
The impact of Koch’s money was felt throughout New York. He believed he had a “moral obligation” to give charity, he previously told the Wall Street Journal. He referred to himself as a “sugar daddy” for charitable causes, and said he’d rather spend his fortune to support great institutions over a “bigger house or a $150 million painting.” He donated more than $1.3 billion to charity, including hundreds of millions of dollars to the city’s hospitals and cultural institutions. That was along with some other pet causes, including advancing libertarian candidates and spending heavily to counter efforts to address climate change.
Katherine Kallergis contributed reporting.