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Looks like there's a legal battle over who owns Holiday World

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Published: January 10, 2013 at 3:49 PM

Apparently there's a pretty serious schism among various members of the Koch family over money and control of Holiday World.

Holiday World's Theme Park Insider tournament-winning roller coaster, The Voyage

A lawsuit filed by the widow of late park president Will Koch has given her control of the company that owns Holiday World, allowing her to fire Dan Koch as park president and replace him with former park general manager Matt Eckert. Dan Koch is appealing the verdict in the lawsuit, which will determine the future ownership and management of the theme park in Santa Claus, Indiana.

Thoughts?

Readers' Opinions

From Rob Pastor on January 10, 2013 at 5:48 PM
Read the article. Sounds like a real mess, since legal appeals will probably drag on for a good while. At least, the GM now running the park, is qualified. I would imagine the future is cloudy at this point in time.
From Anon Mouse on January 10, 2013 at 4:36 PM
This is what happens when they didn't pay the expected amount. They tried to lowball the widow. I don't know if that was the intent, but she wouldn't stand for it. Lawyers are expensive. Would have been cheaper to just pay her.

The Koch family will still control the park. Don't know how long, but this is a definite risk.

From Anthony Murphy on January 10, 2013 at 5:21 PM
I would be a bit worried as well. Sounds similar to Kiddieland
From James Trexen on January 10, 2013 at 5:28 PM
I assume the following puts this story to rest.

http://www.courierpress.com/news/2013/jan/10/holiday-world-herp/

Just asking, do the Kochs have any children? If so, are they named as heirs to the park?

From James Rao on January 10, 2013 at 5:33 PM
Millionaires arguing over their millions. How pathetic. They should take some of their money and build a first rate steel coaster at Holiday World instead of acting in a way that threatens to dishonor Will Koch's legacy. *Choke*.
From 108.17.136.57 on January 10, 2013 at 6:47 PM
I wonder how Mrs. Koch feels about this?
From Brian Emery on January 11, 2013 at 7:12 AM
Are these the same Koch Family members that own a lot of Chemical business and gave Mitt Romney $10 Million to lose badly in a presidential race?

I am just wondering if this is the same Family..
Thanks..

From Tim Hillman on January 11, 2013 at 8:04 AM
No, that was David and Charles Koch. They're industrialists with a privately held company that has a lot of manufacturing and investing interests, but I don't think that theme parks are on their investment agenda.
From Robert Niles on January 11, 2013 at 8:16 PM
Correct. If there's any relationship, it must be very distant. The Holiday World Kochs (Koch Development Corp) are descendants of a German immigrant named George Koch, who settled in Evansville in the 1840s, while the billionaire Kochs (Koch Industries) are the descendants of a Dutch immigrant named Harry Koch, who settled in Texas in 1880s.
From Derek Potter on January 11, 2013 at 11:33 AM
Anyone who has ever found themselves in the middle of a family situation like this probably has a little more perspective. There's a ton of grief for the lost, a ton of emotion, and a sense of entitlement, and often infighting, almost as if they are fighting over which one was more loved. Sad to say also that it usually doesn't matter how much money is involved either. I've seen family fight over a very modest pile of things, and one fight over an estate worth seven figures. I've been here before a couple of times, and have seen victims, otherwise decent people lose sight of who they are and take the low road, and people who are vultures become even worse. It's amazing how easy that can happen in this kind of situation too. It's a bit of a stomach turning experience on many different levels.


That's not to say anything negative about the parties at all, because we just don't know the whole story. We know the Kochs (not to be confused with the billionaire Koch Brothers BTW) as a family who took some land in the middle of Nowhere, Indiana and built a fantastic and successful park. We've rooted for the park because they are the smaller company that does things the right way and cares about their product and customers. We don't know them personally though, nor do we know the family dynamic, so presuming to completely understand this is a mistake.

We have a family who lost a son and brother, the heart and soul of a long standing family operation, and we have a wife and kids who lost their husband and father. There's grief and pain, family business and legacy protection, entitlement and probably a little greed mixed in with millions of dollars. In the end, the lawyers will get a lot of that money they are fighting over, and wounds will take a whole lot longer to heal...if they ever do. I don't know them or the whole story, but I have trouble believing that Will Koch ever would have wanted this. Holiday World aside, I sincerely hope that the parties can come to an agreement and repair things between them for the sake of themselves and his legacy.

From Robert Niles on January 11, 2013 at 11:41 AM
(Slow clap for Derek's post)
From Rod Whitenack on January 11, 2013 at 5:52 PM
Well said, Derek. These are troubling times for those of us in this area. Holiday World means a lot to us. They tried and failed to come to the rescue of Kentucky Kingdom. Now there's a dark cloud over their own park. I wish them the best.
From Mary Carter on January 13, 2013 at 6:57 PM
I have been a resident of Santa Claus for 65 years and have watched Holiday World grow under the Koch family. I have been very confused by one thing; Will Kochs wishes as to what he wanted to happen were clearly documented legally. Will clearly wanted his brother to take over in the event of his untimely death. How can the widow claim to be honoring the deceased's intentions by ignoring his written desires? I view this vindictive act as an insult to Wills life and a travesty of Justice. I will certainly review the strength of my will and testament.
From Mary Carter on January 13, 2013 at 6:58 PM
I have been a resident of Santa Claus for 65 years and have watched Holiday World grow under the Koch family. I have been very confused by one thing; Will Kochs wishes as to what he wanted to happen were clearly documented legally. Will clearly wanted his brother to take over in the event of his untimely death. How can the widow claim to be honoring the deceased's intentions by ignoring his written desires? I view this vindictive act as an insult to Wills life and a travesty of Justice. I will certainly review the strength of my will and testament.
From Mary Carter on January 13, 2013 at 6:59 PM
I have been a resident of Santa Claus for 65 years and have watched Holiday World grow under the Koch family. I have been very confused by one thing; Will Kochs wishes as to what he wanted to happen were clearly documented legally. Will clearly wanted his brother to take over in the event of his untimely death. How can the widow claim to be honoring the deceased's intentions by ignoring his written desires? I view this vindictive act as an insult to Wills life and a travesty of Justice. I will certainly review the strength of my will and testament.
From Mary Carter on January 13, 2013 at 6:59 PM
I have been a resident of Santa Claus for 65 years and have watched Holiday World grow under the Koch family. I have been very confused by one thing; Will Koch's wishes as to what he wanted to happen were clearly documented legally. Will clearly wanted his brother to take over in the event of his untimely death. How can the widow claim to be honoring the deceased's intentions by ignoring his written desires? I view this vindictive act as an insult to Wills life and a travesty of Justice. I will certainly review the strength of my will and testament.
From Eric G on January 17, 2013 at 1:46 AM
Mary your response is insensitive and rude and ignores half of his desires. You’re response insults Will, his wife Lori and his family. While his desire may have been to have his brother take over his share of the family business he certainly didn’t want that to happen unless his wife and family was properly compensated for his share of the business. He married Lori, had children with her and the sale of his share of the business will benefit those who he obviously cared very much for. Your comments, just like those who are calling his wife greedy are disrespectful and disgusting.

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