David Koch, the wealthy industrialist and prolific conservative political mega-donor who was among the oceanfront homeowners on the famed Billionares’ Row, as Meadow Lane in Southampton is known, has died. He was 79.
David and his brother Charles Koch had been majority owners of Koch Industries, a Kansas-based multinational manufacturing conglomerate, but David retired as executive vice president last year following his years-long battle with prostate cancer, although his family did not mention his cause of death in announcing his passing.
“Anyone who worked with David surely experienced his giant personality and passion for life,” Charles Koch wrote in a statement, according to ABC News. “David liked to say that a combination of brilliant doctors, state-of-the-art medications, and his own stubbornness kept the cancer at bay. We can all be grateful that it did, because he was able to touch so many more lives as a result.”
The Koch brothers’ political activism, including partly funding the Tea Party wing of the Republican Party and their pioneering use of nonprofits to hide their campaign donations, made David a lightening rod for criticism nationally, although they refused to support President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign.
David also made local headlines. In 2014, his Southampton estate was found the be the Island’s largest private residential user of fresh water, topping the list at 20.7 million gallons. For perspective, the Suffolk County Water Authority says the average rate of consumption per household is 160,000 gallons.
David, whose $50 billion worth made him 11th on Forbes list of wealthiest people, had a four-acre compound on Meadow Lane, where neighbors include fashion designer Calvin Klein, Gracie Capital CEO Daniel Nir, and other elites.