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BSO spent big on bleed control kits from sheriff’s ex-company, then his PAC got $5,000 contribution from kit vendor

wearing a green uniform, broward sheriff gregory tony speaks with reporters last September. Red bleeding control kits are next to him on a table
Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony at a press conference last September talking about BSO’s plans to distribute bleeding control kits purchased from North American Rescue LLC.

By Dan Christensen, FloridaBulldog.org

The Broward Sheriff’s Office has paid out as much as $750,000 to buy bleeding control kits from a South Carolina company that Sheriff Gregory Tony did business with before he became sheriff, and where he worked as an executive for more than a year.

Last July, two weeks after BSO issued a purchase order for the kits, the CEO and founder of winning bidder North American Rescue LLC funneled $5,000 to Tony’s political action committee.

The contribution was originally listed in Broward Supervisor of Elections records under the CEO’s name, but in what looked to be an effort to disguise the source of the contribution, the committee quickly deleted his name and changed its report to show that the contribution came from a company at the same South Carolina address.  A campaign spokeswoman, however, said the change was made simply to fix an internal accounting error.

Since becoming sheriff in January 2019, Tony has concealed his former job as director of Community Development for North American Rescue in 2016-2017. He hasn’t mentioned it when his job history was discussed, and he deleted mention of it from his LinkedIn profile.

Tony did not respond to a written request for comment submitted Sunday.

While working for North American, and even earlier when he was a police officer in Coral Springs in 2015, Tony ran his own side business Blue Spear Solutions, which marketed a number of North American’s products – including bleeding control kits and stations. That relationship continues today with Blue Spear now in the name of his wife, Holly. Blue Spear’s website says it is a “proud partner” of North American Rescue.

BSO’s bleed kit proposal

BSO records obtained by Florida Bulldog show the sheriff’s bid proposal for a two-year contract for 654 “bleeding control kit stations and IFAKS [Individual First Aid Kits]” went out June 3, 2019. The Stop the Bleed stations were to include a wall mount, carrying cases for eight individual bleeding control bags, the bags contents and a litter [patient carrier].” The bags included a tourniquet, blanket, shears, gloves, gauze and dressings.

The contract was funded through the Coach Aaron Feis Guardian program, established by law initially to help schools hire armed guards. Feis died while protecting others during the horrific Valentine’s Day 2018 shooting at Parkland’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that left 17 dead and 17 others injured.

Shortly after quitting as a Coral Springs police officer in October 2016, Tony posted this picture of himself on Instagram wearing a military style helmet like ones sold by North American Rescue. “Just another day at the office #narrescue #myjobiscool #funtimesahead”

Nine bidders responded by the June 20 deadline. North American Rescue, based in South Carolina but incorporated in Delaware, came in with the lowest bid, $599.98 per unit, or $392,386.92. The next-lowest unit bid was $635, with the rest ranging from $700 to nearly $900 per unit.

The bid was reviewed by BSO’s Purchasing Division, where things took an interesting turn.

On July 11, a purchasing agent sent a memo about the North American deal to Col. James Reyes, the head of BSO’s Department of Administration, requesting approval “in the amount of $750,000 to cover the one time purchase and any additional purchases within the two year term under the same terms and conditions of the contract.” Reyes approved the deal the next day.

Curiously, the original number requested for approval by the purchasing agent on June 27 was $500,000.  Who ordered the $250,000 bump, and why is not known.

Not all bleed kit money spent

Not all of the $750,000 was spent immediately, with the first purchase made last July when BSO bought 854 bleeding control stations at a total cost of $512,382.92. Sheriff Tony did not respond when asked whether the balance was later spent on additional kits.

Sheriff Tony, 41, has aggressively promoted North American’s bleeding control kits as critical for public safety. Twice last year, BSO put out press releases talking about Tony’s plans to distribute thousands of the bright red bleeding control kits to every public and charter school in Broward “to stop the severity of bleeding and save lives if needed.”

In September, Tony staged a press conference at a warehouse where he displayed the kits, emblazoned with his name and BSO’s logo, for reporters and television cameras. Tony – who last year disclosed he has a negative net worth of more than $73,000 – was asked about North American Rescue and whether Blue Spear Solutions would benefit from the sale.

Tony acknowledged that when he ran Blue Spear prior to becoming sheriff Blue Spear had “partnered up” with North American Rescue “in designing and building some of these [bleeding control] cases.” He also said, “I worked there under contract. That’s clear.”

But Tony was more than a contract worker at North American, where he held the title of Director of Community Development. Florida Bulldog has learned that in 2016-2017 the company reported paying him wages totaling more than $80,000.

Tony went on to tell reporters that Blue Spear was not involved in purchasing the bleed kits from BSO. “I’m disconnected from Blue Spear and absolutely no. Okay. Zero involvement. We would not step into that in terms of my wife running that company. There’s an ethics aspect to that that I think the whole community would have an issue with, not only myself. So we distanced ourselves off, put this thing into permit and let it go through the necessary checks and balances and they just happened to have the lowest price point of roughly 10 different vendors that applied,” Tony said.

The sheriff no longer runs Blue Spear, but he continues to own the trademark to Blue Spear’s name and logo.

Blue Spear uninvolved in sale

There is no indication that Blue Spear participated in the sale. But some of North American’s eight competing bidders weren’t actual competitors. For instance, the president of Miami’s Grit Born LLC, Gabe Rodriguez, said his company distributes North American Rescue’s products and couldn’t come close to offering North American’s direct price to BSO.

“That’s the way it works sometimes,” Rodriguez said. “Some distributors might not like the idea of that, but we understand they have the right to do that.”

Another bidder was Melville, N.Y.-based Henry Schein Inc., a Fortune 500 distributor of health care products. Schein bid $704.93 per unit, or about $100 more than North American. The bid seems odd, however, because Henry Schein acquired North American Rescue for an undisclosed price in March 2019, four months before BSO’s bid went out.

Two weeks after BSO issued its confirmation to North American that it was placing an order worth $512,000 , a political action committee that’s supporting Sheriff Tony reported a series of noteworthy transactions. All took place on a single day, July 29, 2019.

Broward First PAC initially reported that “Bob Castalini,” identified as a CEO with a post office box in Greenville, S.C., made a contribution of $5,000. In fact, Castalini is Robert Castellani, the CEO and founder of North American Rescue LLC.

Records kept by the Broward Supervisor of Elections Office show that Broward First then immediately sent “Castalini” two $5,000 refund checks, for a total of $10,000. The same day,  Circle Creek Holdings made two contributions by check of $5,000, or $10,000, the records show.

Names changed

But a spokeswoman for Tony’s campaign said Monday that there was in fact just one $5,000 contribution from Circle Creek. She said the campaign’s efforts to fix an error in “our internal records” led to reporting changes that created confusion. “We got the check from Circle Creek Holdings. Period,” She explained that in recording the check from Circle Creek someone included note to “thank Mr. Castalini.” Another person saw that and mistakenly inserted the “Castalini” name as the contributor, she said.

North American founder and CEO Robert Castelliani, right, and company CFO Dean Bugner

Either way, the source of the contribution comes back to North American CEO Castellani.

Circle Creek and the CEO used the same address. Further, South Carolina corporate records show that Circle Creek’s owner is North American Rescue’s chief financial officer Dean Bugner and its registered agent is North American’s general counsel, Curtis Stodghill.

Broward First PAC was established on June 24, 2019 by Adam Nadler, owner of the Coral Springs gym CrossFit Immersion. Tony worked out at the gym, and it is where the Sun Sentinel has reported he met Andrew Pollack, father of Meadow Pollack, who was shot to death during the Parkland tragedy. Andrew Pollack was a prominent supporter of Gov. Ron DeSantis, and has said he recommended Tony to the governor to replace Sheriff Scott Israel, according to the Sun Sentinel.

To date, Tony has raised nearly $1 million in his bid for election to a full four-year term in 2020. According to the Broward Supervisor of Elections, most of it – $600,000 – came from billionaire hedge fund investor S. Donald Sussman, owner of Fort Lauderdale’s priciest home.

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Latest comments

  • Take a look at his procurement for shooter training drill instruction. If he is an expert in this field why is he procuring those services from an outside vendor? And who won that award? Was it a company that had any affiliation with his company?

  • I hope the FBI is watching this.

  • Did he state yes on the RFP that he had a conflict of interest regarding North America Rescue as being his ex employer?

  • Check and see if he is like most other Sheriff’s and has an FBI security clearance? Wonder how he answered the questions on that paperwork??

  • Someone needs to seriously look at removing him from this office.

  • Excellent reporting.
    Thank you.

  • There has been a lot of talk about this being more about the sheriff being black than it is about the facts. The only thing that is black and white here is the facts. His application with Coral Springs Police Department clearly asked him if he had ever been fingerprinted for any reason? He lied and said, “only for the police academy.” He failed to mention that there was a warrant for him in regard to writing bad checks in Leon County. The application asked if he had any law enforcement interaction for investigative purposes. He replied, “no.” All lies. This isn’t a story about a black guy who was able to get out of the hard streets of Philly and becoming a success. Had it been, he would have been preaching his story from the beginning. Yet, he decided to conceal it. What else is he canceling? He seems to have multiple variations of the spelling of his name. Is this to conceal more unfavorable facts about his life? Let’s go a bit further… we now have pictures of him and his wife semi-naked at a swingers party with a half naked guy between his legs. No, this is not illegal; it just shows bad judgment. Ya, the average couple can do this – but, the average couple isn’t running for the office of sheriff. It shows poor judgement & bad character. How many school teachers have we seen terminated over the past couple of years because they were a swim suit model on the side, performed in porn movies prior to becoming a teacher? There was a few, and they were all fired for moral clauses in their contracts. What is the job of the “top cop” of Broward County? It’s about creating policy and procedure, budgets, etc. The real law enforcement is left to the people under him. How can he manage a 900MM+ annual budget… yet his recent personal financial statement shows he has a negative net worth of over $73 thousand dollars. He can’t even manage his own personal finances. Now we find out that he has conveniently left off his resume that he formally worked for and/or was a contractor for a company that was awarded a 750 thousand dollars contract from Broward Sheriff’s Office under Tony. The CEO of this company then made campaign contributions to the Sheriff’s campaign. He says he was a former “commander” for Coral Springs Police Department. The former chief of police who hired Tony says that is not true. The chief also says that he would have not hired Tony had he been forthright about his past. Tony says he is an expert in regard to active shooters – the business he was promoting prior to becoming the sheriff of Broward County. Coral Springs Police say he has only a 4 day training class in regard to “active shooters.” Sheriff Tony is trying to blame all these sudden revolutions in the media on the former Sheriff Scott Israel playing dirty politics. What are politics? When you get into this arena you should be beyond reproach. Clearly this isn’t Tony. He was a registered republican until which time he became the sheriff of Broward; the following day he became a registered democrat. I wonder how many applicants are terminated or denied employment with the BSO because they have mismanaged their personal finances, didn’t disclose things, lied on their application etc.? How many were denied employment under Tony’s leadership? I bet it’s a lot. Let’s not forget O.J. Simpson. He was found not guilty and there was no witnesses – yet a prudent adult of average intelligence would not hire him to be a police officer. There was a lot of witnesses in Tony’s murder case. Their version of events seems to be a lot more clearer than Tony’s. Tony keeps saying he can’t remember the events of the day clearly. Thus, we need to go by the people who seem to be very clear on the events that day. How could he not recall these events? If you were driving down the road and saw aliens fall from the sky… that would be a day you would never forget – even over time! Thus, you would remember a murder. A murder that is the only active shooter that the Tony has experience with. You would think after is 10 years with Coral Springs Police Department he would know what constitutes police interaction, what sealed and expunged means etc. Clearly, he is not that intelligent. What about all the videos online and statements by other members of the sheriff’s office who state that they have seen Tony lose his temper on multiple times. Is this how a sheriff acts, or is this the actions of someone who can lose it and shoot someone? He is the last one that should be sheriff, or be allowed to carry a gun.

  • Can you imagine the damage this guy would cause if he had a 4 year term!?I would like to know why his dads name is Scott & his name was Scott-Toney on the police report & now his name is just Tony (without the E)? This guy is a ConMan. He shot the man 6x in his face. That’s a COLD BLOODED killer.

  • Sheriff Tony, this whole situation needs to END! You have NO CHANCE of winning in the upcoming election and I think you KNOW IT! NOBODY TRUSTS YOU ANYMORE, including your own deputies with their vote of “No Confidence.” You have NOT been forthcoming about many things – including this latest revelation regarding your concealment of your past employment with North American Rescue. Regardless of the fact that they were the lowest bidder, how could you NOT KNOW that dealing with them DIRECTLY would be considered a “Conflict of Interest”! You are MORE than just a police officer – you are also an “Officer of the Court” – sworn to UPHOLD the public trust – instead you BETRAYED it! You were installed as Sheriff on an “emergency basis” because the Governor knew that after the Marjorie Stillman Douglas massacre, if he didn’t IMMEDIATELY replace Scott Israel – there would be HELL TO PAY! So he picked YOU to calm the “shit storm” and now I’ll bet he’s regretting his decision! I am pro law enforcement and have in the past worked with many Sheriff’s Offices throughout Florida on animal abuse cases, (I’m an animal activist and have street-rescued many abandoned and abused dogs) and I’ve ALWAYS been proud to work with some of the finest police officers I’ve ever known – but YOU sir, are an EMBARRASSMENT to the ENTIRE law enforcement community! A LIE of omission is STILL a LIE!!!

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