Florida Man Buys State: Koch Impacts in the Sunshine State:
David Koch Received A Tax Exemption To Expand His Mansion

Palm Beach Officials Rewrote Tax Exemptions Governing Landmarked Buildings So That They “Apply Only To Renovations And Not To House Expansions Or Improvements.” According to the Palm Beach Post, “Town officials will write criteria so that tax exemptions for restoring landmarked buildings apply only to renovations and not to house expansions or improvements.” [Palm Beach Post, 2/1/02]

Palm Beach Councilman Allen Wyett Said The Exemptions Were “Rich Man’s Welfare.” According to the Palm Beach Post, “‘It’s rich man’s welfare,’ Councilman Allen Wyett said. ‘The rest of us taxpayers are subsidizing millionaires’ welfare.’” [Palm Beach Post, 2/1/02]

Palm Beach Was Set To Lose As Much As $104,000 In 2003 In Property Tax Because “The Increased Value Of Landmarked Property Resulting From Restoration Is Exempt For 10 Years.” According to the Palm beach Post, “The town will lose as much as $104,000 next year in property tax because the increased value of landmarked property resulting from restoration is exempt for 10 years. That exempt value will total $25.5 million next year.” [Palm Beach Post, 2/1/02]

Palm Beach County Lost About $126,180 Less In Tax Revenue As Well. According to the Palm Beach Post, “Palm Beach County will receive about $126,180 less in taxes as well. The reduction does not apply to school or any other taxes.” [Palm Beach Post, 1/9/02]

Wyett Said That The Koch Tax Break Was As Much As $48,000. According to the Palm Beach Post, “‘Voters had in mind preserving the average home, not mega-mansions. Granting a $48,000 tax break is not what was envisioned by voters,’ Wyett said of Koch’s estimated tax reduction.” [Palm Beach Post, 1/9/02]

David Koch Received Tax Exemption On A $12 Million Expansion Of His Home. According to the Palm Beach Post, “Among the tax exemptions the council approved last month were $8 million for The Breakers and $12 million for oil financier David Koch’s house.” [Palm Beach Post, 2/1/02]

David Koch Was Awarded The Ballinger Award In 2008 For The Home Expansion, An Award Given To “Superlative” Renovation And Restoration Projects. According to the Palm Beach Daily News, “The Koch’s efforts earned them the 2008 Ballinger Award presented by the Preservation Foundation annually to renovation, preservation and restoration projects deemed superlative for maintaining the historic architectural traditions of the island. The foundation has handed out Ballinger Awards since 1988. In 1991, the previous owners of El Sarmiento were given the award for the restoration of that property.” [Palm Beach Daily News, 12/14/08]

The Kochs Expanded Their “Grand And Very Formal” Home To Include The Property Next Door Because The Playroom For Their Three Children Under 10 “Was Too Small.” According to the Palm Beach Daily News, “When Julia and David Koch decided to purchase the property neighboring El Sarmiento, the grand and very formal Mizner-designed 1923 Mediterranean Revival house they have lived in since 2001, they foresaw the creation of a ‘magnificent compound.’ ‘We wanted to make a place for the children,’ said Julia Koch, who had created a playroom for the couple’s three offspring, all of whom are under 10 years old, from a former guest bedroom at El Sarmiento. ‘It was too small for them, especially when they had friends come over to play.’” [Palm Beach Daily News, 12/14/08]

They Purchased The House Next Door “To Accommodate The Koch Children’s Needs.” According to the Palm Beach Daily News, “So the original concept for the house next door, a 1925 British Colonial-style residence that had been renovated in 1931 by island architect and leading proponent of the Bermuda style, Howard Major, was to accommodate the Koch children’s needs.” [Palm Beach Daily News, 12/14/08]

Only A Portion Of The British Colonial-Style House, Five Arches Stretching Across The First Floor Of The East-Facing Façade Of The Residence, Had Been Landmarked.” According to the Palm Beach Daily News, “Only a portion of the British Colonial-style house, five arches stretching across the first floor of the east-facing facade of the residence, had been landmarked, but [architect Thomas] Kirchhoff and the Kochs recognized the character and details of the entire east elevation, the south-facing elevation and an enclosed courtyard, all of which had been created by Major, were significant and worthy of restoration and improvement.” [Palm Beach Daily News, 12/14/08]

The Kochs Refer To The Second Home As “The ‘Playhouse’,” Which Would Provide “A Setting For The Children To Play.” According to the Palm Beach Daily News, “In the process, it was determined that the ‘playhouse,’ as the Kochs now refer to the second home they acquired, also would serve a number of functions besides as a setting for children to play.” [Palm Beach Daily News, 12/14/08]

The Koch “Playhouse” Includes An “Interior Courtyard,” Which “Was Made Somewhat Smaller, Allowing For A Motorcourt And Garage.” According to the Palm Beach Daily News, “There is a gracious second-floor apartment for the house manager and his wife, an exercise room, a gallery and family room, and underneath an expansive basement where a mega-generator and all climate and utility equipment for both houses is now located. An interior courtyard was made somewhat smaller, allowing for a motorcourt and garage along the west-facing side of the house.” [Palm Beach Daily News, 12/14/08]