One Way to Skin the FCAT

More Than Wasted Time

But 2005 hasn´t been so rosy for the publicly traded defense contractor. In April, Point Blank settled a lawsuit filed by the Southern States Police Benevolent Association (SSPBA), agreeing to replace 2,609 potentially defective pieces of body armor that were sold to police officers nationwide. One month later, the U.S. military recalled 5,277 bullet-resistant vests manufactured by Point Blank. Then, in September, Point Blank´s parent company received a class-action lawsuit that alleges investor fraud and insider trading.

But wait. There´s more.

On November 7, New York-based attorney Samuel H. Rudman, whose firm has previously won cases against Enron and WorldCom, filed another claim against DHB. The lawsuit, brought by a pension plan and two individual investors, alleges that company executives, including founder/Chief Executive Officer David H. Brooks (whose initials he shares with the company), participated in a ¨pump-and-dump¨ scheme by artificially inflating DHB´s stock price and then selling off shares as the price peaked at $22.70 per share.

The widescreen in the basement
The widescreen in the basement

In all, executives raked in $200 million, including $185 million to Brooks alone. Chief Operating Officer Sandra Hatfield, whom the South Florida Business Journal once described as a ¨steel magnolia¨ for being a female executive in a male-dominated industry, cashed in 100 percent of her shares, collecting roughly $5 million. If she sold those same shares today, she´d collect only about $1 million. Brooks is so flush that, according to New York Daily News gossip columnist Lloyd Grove, he´s trying to lure Billy Joel and Rod Stewart, among other geriatric rockers, to perform at his daughter´s multimillion-dollar bat mitzvah to be held November 26.

The nonprivileged stockholders haven´t been so lucky. Not long after executives bailed out, investors learned of disappointing earnings and quality problems at DHB´s Point Blank. The stock price plummeted. ¨As these adverse facts entered the market, DHB´s stock collapsed back to just $4.48 per share, inflicting hundreds of millions of dollars of damages on public investors,¨ the lawsuit alleges.

Insider trading? Not guilty, man!

In a prepared statement, DHB commented: ¨The company believes that the recently filed lawsuits are baseless and intends to vigorously defend them.¨

The ´Pipe is betting that sometime during that gold-plated bat mitzvah, Brooks will wave to Rod up there on the stage and mouth the words: ¨Some guys have all the luck...¨

Cozy Cottage

Some call Tim Elmes the Broward County real-estate agent extraordinaire. He has just added a considerable notch to his designer belt by selling a Harbor Beach manse for $18.5 million. Sources tell the ´Pipe that the seller is one of the owners of China White on the Riverwalk, and, though as of this writing the buyer´s name has not been made public, it´s a woman you´d recognize on the street.

Whoever the new owner is, she´ll have plenty of leg room. The 20,000-square-foot home sits on a quiet stretch of Intracoastal beauty, with dock space for ¨several mega yachts¨ and parking for more than ten cars. Entertaining friends won´t be much of a problem, what with the nine-hole golf course and 1,800-square-foot nightclub, complete with light show and sound system. And when guests get tired of boogeying, they can kick their feet up in the million-dollar home theater, a duplicate of the one showcased in Epcot´s ¨Home of the Future.¨

Say what you will about the mega-rich and those who cater to their needs: Elmes, who´s been in the South Florida real-estate business since 1988, has the touch. He says he´s been involved in ¨every record-breaking sale in Fort Lauderdale since 1990.¨ According to the Luxury Real Estate Council, Elmes lays claim to four of the highest recorded home sales in Broward County. This places him in the rarefied air of only 10 percent of real-estate brokers who closed deals that exceeded $10 million.

For his efforts in moving the Harbor Beach property, Elmes was awarded the Most Outrageous Property Listed award by Unique Homes Magazine. The most outrageous part, of course, is Elmes´ commission. Let´s see, 6 percent of $18,500,000 is...

Not to be outdone, the ´Pipe just put a noteworthy piece of property of his own on the market. The Tailpipe family garage comes complete with a chamois and a bucket and, within walking distance, its own porta-potty. — As told to Edmund Newton

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