Tech billionaire gives hermit $180,000

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David Lidstone, an off-the-grid New Hampshire hermit known to locals as “River Dave,” doffs his hat after speaking to media outside Merrimack County Superior Court after a status conference hearing, Wednesday, Aug. 11, 2021, in Concord, N.H. The court determined that Lidstone will be able to collect his cats, chickens, and remaining possessions from the site he has lived on for 27 years. Lidstone, who still believes he was not on private land, also was given permission to hire a surveyor to give him “peace of mind,” Judge Andrew Schulman said. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — A billionaire software company CEO has given a former hermit in New Hampshire $180,000 to rebuild his cabin in a new location.

Alexander Karp, CEO of Palantir Technologies, gave David Lidstone a personal check last week, Lidstone’s friend, Jodie Gedeon said on Facebook. A spokesperson for the data analytics software company confirmed the donation to the Concord Monitor.

“How can I express myself and my gratitude towards something like that? I start to tear up whenever I think about it,” Lidstone told the Monitor. “For an old logger who always had to work, for anyone to give you that type of money, it’s incredibly difficult for me to get my head around.”

There has been an outpouring of support for Lidstone since he was jailed July 15 and accused of squatting for nearly 30 years on property owned by a Vermont man. His cabin burned down this month shortly before his release, but he recently secured temporary housing through the winter.

The location is being kept secret to protect Lidstone’s privacy, Gedeon said. But supporters will have a chance to meet Lidstone at a “thank you” event in Warner, New Hampshire, on Saturday.

Lidstone, for his part, said he doesn’t think he can go back to being a hermit. “Maybe the things I’ve been trying to avoid are the things that I really need in life,” he told The Associated Press.

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