TULSA, Okla. - An apparent truce between the feuding sons of the Koch Industries founder has resulted in cancellation of an Oct. 30 penalty hearing as the two sides work toward government approval of a settlement in the long-running oil-buying case.
U.S. District Judge Terry Kern agreed to cancel the hearing and has asked for a status report by Dec. 1.
The company stands accused of underreporting the amount of oil it took from federal and Indian lands. A 1999 court decision found Koch guilty of falsifying more than 24,000 claims and fined the company $533,504.
The Tulsa jury found that Koch Industries underreported the quality and amount of oil purchased between 1985 and 1989 from federal and Indian land leases.
In a move that would have required the U.S. Department of Justice to sign off on the settlement, Bill Koch sued the company on behalf of the government under the federal False Claims Act. However Justice and the Osage Nation declined to participate in the lawsuit. A separate group of Osage tribal members filed a separate lawsuit over oil-buying practices of Koch Industries.
The truce apparently will end the long-running feud between the sons of Fred. C. Koch who founded Koch Industries in 1940. Charles Koch is the chairman of the company and David is executive vice president. The fourth son, Frederick, was not involved in the Tulsa lawsuit, but had been on Bill's side in another dispute.
Bill Koch issued a statement saying, "I'm glad to say that my brothers and I have put our differences behind us. It's time to close the rift that has divided our family for so long and live in peace."
"We're encouraged by Bill's statement," Jay Rosser, Koch Industries spokesman said in a prepared statement, "and totally agree with his express desire to live in peace."
What this most recent legal move will mean to the Osage Nation isn't clear. The Osage Nation filed a separate lawsuit against the Department of Interior and the BIA to recover over $2.5 billion in gas and oil royalties it alleges was mismanaged by the government.
A spokesman for the Osage Nation said that the tribal council wasn't ready to comment on the most recent settlement.
The BIA Public Affairs Office in Washington, D.C., but did not return phone calls before deadline.