Initially, all four sons had an equal share of their father’s company.
Fredrick, the first born, became the odd-one out. While in his 20s, he took to the arts instead of business, and his brothers suspected he was gay — something their father would disown him for, meaning his fourth of the company stake would be divvied up among them.
The three brothers tried to blackmail Fredrick in what journalist Jane Mayer, author of “Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right,” described as a “kangaroo court.”
Mayer told NPR in an interview: "He [Fredrick] walked in the room, found his three other brothers sitting there in chairs facing him, and they confronted him and conducted an inquisition to see if he was gay. … It's come to be known within the family as the blackmail attempt by the brothers to get Frederick's shares of the company.”
It didn’t work — Fredrick stood up, told them he never wanted to hear of it again, and walked out.
“I think it gives you an idea of a family that is not the usual cozy, all-American family,” said Mayer.
However, eventually Fred Koch wrote Fredrick out of his will — allegedly because the eldest son stole from his father, although Fredrick denied it.