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Longtime New Era CEO Charged with Felony Reckless Endangerment

  • CEO Chris Koch allegedly tried to run over his girlfriend's ex-husband in a parking lot on Saturday.
  • Koch was arraigned on Monday on charge and faces as many as seven years in prison.
New Era Cap Co.

Longtime New Era Cap Co. CEO Chris Koch was charged with felony reckless endangerment after he allegedly tried to run over his girlfriend’s ex-husband outside of a Buffalo restaurant Saturday night, according to the Erie County District Attorney’s Office. 

Koch, 61, was arraigned in a Buffalo courtroom Monday on the charge that carries a maximum of seven years in prison. 

The altercation began as an argument in a parking lot, according to authorities.  

His girlfriend’s ex-husband exited his vehicle and said, “Let’s settle this like men,” as he walked toward Koch, according the police report obtained by WIVB-TV.

“The defendant allegedly engaged in conduct that created grave risk of death to another person by intentionally driving his vehicle toward the victim,” the Erie County District Attorney’s Office said in a statement. “The victim allegedly jumped out of the way to avoid being hit, but suffered an injury to his hand. The defendant allegedly hit the victim’s vehicle, which caused damage to the passenger side.”

Koch was given a notice to appear in court in lieu of being detained after police responded, according to an Erie County District Attorney spokesperson. Koch remains free on his own recognizance at least until his next hearing scheduled for May 25.

Koch’s girlfriend’s ex-husband was granted a temporary no-contact order.

Koch has been the CEO of New Era for 20 years and has worked for the company more than 35 years. He’s the fourth member of his family to lead the privately owned company since it was founded in 1920.

Buffalo-based New Era has been the official on-field headwear provider of MLB for nearly 30 years, and the company has apparel deals with the NFL and NBA. 

Messages left with New Era were not immediately returned. 

The Buffalo News was the first outlet to report the arrest.

Koch has been on the University of Buffalo Council — the main oversight and advisory arm of the university — since he was appointed by then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo in 2013. A university spokesperson declined to comment on the arrest when reached by Front Office Sports on Monday 

Koch has also served as a board member for the Jackie Robinson Foundation since 2009. Messages left with the Jackie Robinson Foundation by FOS were not immediately returned. 

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