Billionaire Loses Bid to Sue Over Thomas Jefferson's Wine

William Koch said that Christie's Auction House knowingly sold him counterfeit wine
Staff Writer

Photo Sasabune Omakase Modified: Flickr/erin/CC 4.0

Bllionaire William Koch isn't having the best week: Although he alleged that Christie's Auction House knowingly sold him counterfeit wine they claimed was owned by Thomas Jefferson, he will no longer be able to sue for damages because he took too long to do anything about it. 

According to Reuters, Koch first bought the bottles back in 1987 and 1988; the bottles had etched in them "Th.J" and were reported to be from the year 1787. While it was said Thomas Jefferson's collection of wines was discovered in Paris, more investigating showed cracks in the wine's authenticity. The appeals court wrote that there was evidence that "would suggest to a reasonably intelligent person that the wine was not authentic." 

Even though the dubious claims were raised in 2000, Koch reportedly didn't investigate the origins of the wine until 2005. That's why Koch eventually lost the lawsuit, because the court claimed he failed to report it in a timely manner. 

The lawsuit against the wine seller, Hardy Rodenstock, and the head of Christie's Auction House wine department, Michael Broadbent, is therefore thrown out. Said a spokesman for Koch, "They got away with it ... They escaped on a technicality and their behavior warrants closer scrutiny."

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