I traveled to Koch Industries headquarters in Wichita earlier this week where Joel Francis, the Cal State-Los Angeles senior and Marine Corps veteran, formally delivered his letter challenging CEO Charles Koch to a public debate about his funding of Prop 23.
After receiving no response from Koch following the video posting of his challenge last week, Joel and a group of California students traveled from Los Angeles with Powervote CA campaign director Gabe Elsner to try to meet Koch in person.
Faced with an outrageously polite and reasonable invitation to debate a single college student, Koch HQ prepared for the visit by posting pairs of security guards at the doors, parking lots and even the infamous granite wall bearing the Koch logo. (What, were they afraid Joel was going to try to steal the sign?)
Joel delivered a statement on the public easement strip of lawn in front of Koch HQ (which Koch’s Director of Corporate Security Larry Moorman tried to suggest was private property at first, before backing away quietly when Elsner noted that county records indicate the first 18 feet of lawn adjoining the street is public property.)
Then, after a couple of extensive interviews with local media, including the Wichita Eagle and an ABC affiliate – neither of which ended up reporting since Koch has a death grip on local media – Joel and Gabe approached the front door, where Moorman rebuffed their polite request to see Charles Koch and ordered them to scram back to the easement with haste. He did agree to give Joel’s letter to Charles though; what a sweetheart!
Here’s a video from Powervote about the visit and encounter with the Trench-Coat-Wearing Man, Larry Moorman:
Apparently Koch didn’t appreciate my presence and subsequent blog coverage, since I’ve received some colorful commentary (see comments) from what I assume are employees who were watching us on their front lawn from their tinted office windows.
I also drew fire from Breitbart’s ‘BigJournalism.com’ website, who accused me of being a journalist (the nerve) and suggested I was unethical for letting Joel use my cell phone to call Charles Koch. I did gladly lend Joel my phone – how else could he get in touch with the elusive CEO about his bankrolling of Prop 23? Both Joel’s and Gabe’s phones were rendered completely frozen and useless after they returned from a close encounter with Larry Moorman, who reminded me of the Cigarette Smoking Man with that trench coat and sinister grin of his.
Wonder what kind of jamming and tracing tech Koch has? I keep listening for the tell-tale click on my cell phone now. Hope they enjoy listening to my boring conversations. Tell Charles I said hi and that he really ought to man up and debate Joel!
A multi-billionaire afraid of a college kid? Seriously?