UPDATE:  Sept. 14 —
A federal jury on Long Island today found former Broward body armor tycoon David H. Brooks guilty of looting his former company, Point Blank Solutions, and defrauding its shareholders. 
Brooks was convicted on all 17 counts of conspiracy and fraud in the $200 million corporate theft. Sandra Hatfield, Point Blank’s former chief operating officer, was convicted of 14 related criminal counts.
The trial began in January. The jury deliberated two weeks.
Brooks’ attorney, Kenneth Ravenell of Baltimore, Md., said Tuesday evening that he would not comment on the verdict.
Ravenell said, however, that the jury still has work to do deciding how much Brooks must forfeit to the government.
“It’s not over yet,” he said.
[Please scroll down to read Broward Bulldog’s July 8 story about the trial]
David H. Brooks

David H. Brooks

By Dan Christensen,

The embattled founder of financially-hobbled Pompano Beach body armor maker Point Bank Solutions refers to himself on his foundation’s website as a “Living Lifesaving Legend.”

But federal prosecutors say former Broward mogul David H. Brooks is a world-class crook responsible for an audacious $200 million corporate theft.

Brooks, forced out as CEO a year before his 2007 arrest, has been on trial for nearly six months in Central Islip, N.Y. on federal fraud and conspiracy charges. A writer for Vanity Fair has called it “the year’s most entertaining trial you’ve probably never heard of.”

The grand jury’s 61-page indictment describes a corporate chieftain gone wild. It boils down to this: Brooks looted his publicly traded company and burned through its cash like it was Monopoly money.

Point Blank, once known as DHB Industries, is a leading manufacturer of “bullet, fragmentation and stab resistant apparel and related ballistic accessories.” Its products are used by U.S. soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as federal and state agents and local police.

In the middle of the trial, Point Blank filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in Wilmington, Delaware claiming assets of $64 million and debts of $68.5 million. The company blamed the filing on tight credit and “legal issues from former management” that it said were costing it $600,000 a month in legal fees.

Point Blank, which once employed about 1,500 people, had 920 employees at the end of last year. Its stock, which once traded as high as $20 on the American Stock Exchange, now sells for 25 cents on the pink sheets. You can see Point Blank’s website here. 

By Dan Christensen,

Zachariah Zachariah

Zachariah Zachariah

Impeccably dressed and unfailingly polite, Fort Lauderdale cardiologist and master Republican fundraiser Dr. Zachariah P. Zachariah testified at his insider trading trial last week about what it’s like to make and lose a fortune on Wall Street.

“I made millions of dollars in the market, and I lost millions of dollars in the market,” Zachariah told a Securities and Exchange Commission attorney. “One time I took a portfolio from $40 million up to $60 million in two months. You’d think I was a mini-Warren Buffet. Now, you think I’m a fool.”

The SEC has accused Zachariah of using nonpublic information to make nearly $1 million in illegal profits in 2005 trading the stock of two Florida companies.

If U.S. Magistrate Judge Linnea R. Johnson decides that Zachariah committed civil fraud she could impose a large fine, order him to pay back the money he made with interest, and ban him from serving as an officer or director of a publicly traded company.

Cat_LitterBy Dan Christensen

“Vigilante trappers” and pet activists have improperly stuck Broward taxpayers with the tab to sterilize feral and stray cats.

An internal county report says Broward’s Stop Pet Overpopulation Together (S.P.O.T.) program was misused by animal rescue groups to have wild cats spayed and neutered at local clinics in violation of program rules.

No allegations of wrongdoing were leveled at any specific animal rescue group or clinic, but reports by Broward’s Office of Intergovernmental Affairs and Professional Standards recommended better verification of pet ownership before S.P.O.T. sterilization vouchers are issued.

Zachariah Zachariah

Zachariah Zachariah

By Dan Christensen,

Testimony began Tuesday in the politically-charged, insider stock trading trial of Fort Lauderdale heart doctor and top Republican fundraiser Dr. Zachariah P. Zachariah.

Zachariah, who has raised millions of dollars for the GOP, stands accused by the Securities and Exchange Commission of using nonpublic information to make nearly $1 million in illegal profits trading stock in two Florida companies in 2005.

The federal civil trial in West Palm Beach is expected to last about a week.

Some big names are expected to testify, either in person or by deposition. They include South Florida corporate titans Philip Frost, the billionaire chairman of the board of Teva Pharmaceuticals, and George Zoley, CEO and chairman of The GEO Group of Boca Raton.

By Dan Christensen,

Jack Seiler

Jack Seiler

Yet another Fort Lauderdale neighborhood is fighting City Hall over plans for unwanted new development – and has taken the additional step of hauling the city into court to try and stop it.

In court papers, the not-for-profit Trust for Historic Sailboat Bend claims the fix was in when the city commission voted 5-0 in March to bulldoze and replace the Dr. Kennedy Homes public housing development. The vote, after a lengthy public hearing, reversed the city Historic Preservation Board’s 2009 decision to deny demolition.

Now, trust officials say they have proof the city intended all along to approve the demolition: a letter Mayor Jack Seiler wrote last September expressing the city’s “support” for the demolition and offering his “best wishes for the success” of the controversial replacement housing project.

“The mayor had his mind made up before the evidence was heard,” said Trust Vice President Charles Jordan. “The quasi-judicial hearing over which he presided was a charade.”


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