By Michael E. Miller
By Allie Conti
By Keegan Hamilton and Francisco Alvarado
By Jake Rossen
By Allie Conti
By Kyle Swenson
By Chris Joseph
By Michael E. Miller
November has been quite the month for millionaire businessman David H. Brooks. As founder and chief executive of DHB Industries, the 50-year-old Brooks has raked in $700 million in sales since 9/11, primarily from no-bid Defense Department contracts. DHB Industries, you may recall, is the parent company of Point Blank Body Armor in Pompano Beach. The largest supplier of body armor to the U.S. military, Point Blank has been plagued with allegations, including some from its own factory workers, that it produces and ships defective body armor to the men and women overseas (see "Vested Interests," September 29, Trevor Aaronson). In fact, in May, the U.S. military recalled 5,277 bullet-resistant vests made by Point Blank.
No big deal. Just some troops complaining that the vests were sloppily manufactured and that, in some cases, they couldn't stop a bullet.
And that was six months ago! When Brooks pops the cork on that Moët & Chandon on New Year's Eve, he'll likely look back to the stellar month that was November:
November 15: The Defense Department orders $30.1 million worth of new vests from Point Blank Body Armor. Of course, this is followed by a minor setback. On November 16, the U.S. government recalls 18,000 more vests made by Point Blank over the past five years, bringing the total number of recalled Point Blank vests to roughly 23,000. Military officials say the body armor, which is currently being used by troops in the field, did not meet manufacturing standards.
But who's looking back?
November 26: Brooks throws a $10 million party (no, you didn't misread that number) at the Rainbow Room in Manhattan for his 12-year-old daughter Elizabeth's bat mitzvah. This was no ordinary kids' party. Dubbing the affair "Mitzvahpalooza," the New York Daily News reported that the obscenely expensive kids' party featured performances by Aerosmith, Tom Petty, and 50 Cent. Elizabeth's guests reportedly left with $1,000 gift bags. 50 Cent, still on that mission to get rich or die tryin', cashed a $500,000 check to sing a special song for Elizabeth: "Go, shorty, it's your bat mitzvah/We gonna party like it's your bat mitzvah." (Tailpipe's pipette did not attend the rock-star gala. Her invitation was lost in the mail.)
November 30 (or thereabouts): Brooks consults with DHB attorneys about two lawsuits alleging investor fraud and insider trading.
Ha ha. Not to worry. As long as the Iraq War lasts (Did somebody say, "Stay the course"?), long-term prospects are good. Brooksie, you're doing a heckuva job.
When a Wolf Camera store in Fort Lauderdale was burgled of $38,000 worth of camcorders and lenses on the last Sunday in November, Tailpipe wondered: Thieves? Or merely Santa's elves? Those frantic few days after Thanksgiving are traditionally when bargain-hunters will trample grannies for 30 percent off a Chicken Dance Elmo, but no one has yet to discover a price better than free. The 'Pipe checked Plantation police records to see what else shoppers were helping themselves to at the Broward Mall. Coming soon to a stocking near you:
Various Dillard's clothes as allegedly selected by Ciata Markolor no, wait, scratch that. On the 29th, the 28-year-old was reportedly seen entering a dressing room with $490.99 worth of threads and a travel bag and exiting with only the bag. Guess what authorities said was inside it when security stopped her at the store's exit?
Then there was the bag of flora that Christopher Thompson turned in to the cops that weekend. Not at the mall this time but in his home. The 30-year-old Plantation resident was surprised on the 28th when a young man knocked on his door asking permission to retrieve a bag of plant material that he had thrown over the fence into Thompson's yard. The kid left after Thompson lectured him about the ills of illegal drugs. Thompson then noticed three boys hanging around outside. He phoned police, who interviewed the lads, then accepted from Thompson a plastic bag containing a "green, leafy substance."
Had to be mistletoe.
What are kids learning out there in Coral Springs? Stephanie Kraft, who represents the area on the Broward School Board, confesses she never understood what the big deal was about Charles Darwin and his theory of evolution.
"Personally, I don't understand how evolution works," Kraft told the Sun-Sentinel (whose reporter failed to ask her whether she thought the world is flat or whether the sun revolves around the Earth). "I don't understand how you went from one cell and then all of a sudden you got man."
All of a sudden? Well, it did supposedly take a couple of billion years going back to the time when the first living cells made their appearance on Earth. Kraft, who's suggesting that Broward schools give "intelligent design" equal billing with the Darwin stuff, might want to bone up on the subject. She's on the board that supposedly vets the district-approved science textbooks.