Saturday, December 22, 2007

The Rich You Will Always Have With You

Various and sundry wingnuts are up in arms that a low-income victim of Hurricane Katrina has what they claim "appear[s]" to be an "absolutely enormous flat screen television" in her subsidized apartment. This woman and her teevee, it seems, retroactively vindicate the concept of welfare queens that Ronnie Reagan so courageously advanced back in the day.

To date, I have not located these wingnuts' posts trumpeting proof of the corrupt CEO and the war profiteer, as evidenced by this article:

CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. (AP) -- The former head of the leading supplier of body armor to the U.S. military, facing federal charges in an alleged fraud scheme, may be freed after two months in jail but only under house arrest, a judge has ruled.

And instead of the usual bail posting, David H. Brooks must convince prosecutors that they have full control of his millions in assets so he cannot use them to flee, U.S. District Judge Joanna Seybert said Friday.

Prosecutors have accused the founder and former chief executive of DHB Industries Inc. of refusing to disclose the location of millions of dollars held overseas, including $4 million recently sent to spiritual leaders in the African nation of Senegal.

The spiritual leaders were paid to pray for Brooks' acquittal, according to testimony at a hearing Friday, but Assistant U.S. Attorney John Martin characterized the expenditures as "quasi-religious."

Brooks' attorney, Paul Shechtman, would say only that "no money was sent to Senegal to hide assets."


Prosecutors say he garnered more than $185 million by falsely inflating the value of the inventory of DHB's top product, a vest designed to withstand rifle fire and shrapnel, and then selling company stock after the doctored accounting boosted its price.

Imagine the big-ass teevee you could get for $185 million.

What sort of fellow is David "Non-Bobo" Brooks?

Brooks and Hatfield also are accused of failing to report more than $10 million in bonus payments to themselves and other DHB employees to the Internal Revenue Service.

Brooks also is accused of using DHB funds to buy or lease luxury vehicles for himself and family members, and to pay for vacations, jewelry, cosmetic surgery, country club bills and family celebrations.

Prosecutors say he threw lavish bar and bat mitzvahs for his children in which entertainers like Tom Petty, Aerosmith and the Eagles performed.

Brooks, who owns more than 100 horses and races them at harness tracks around the country, also used DHB funds for his private horse racing business, prosecutors said.

But that's not all!

Over the course of 2005, the Marines and Army recalled a total of 23,000 vests Рall of them produced by DHB -- after an investigation by the Marine Corps Times revealed that the vests had failed ballistics tests for stopping 9 mm bullets. The expos̩ showed that Pentagon officials had dismissed repeated warnings by inspectors. In one instance, army ballistics expert James MacKiewicz alerted higher-ups of "major quality assurance deficiencies" by DHB and recommended rejecting certain lots of vests and "disciplinary action against the contractor."

The military maintains that the recall was merely to calm fears stoked by the Marine Corps Times exposé -- fears they claim are unfounded because subsequent tests on a sample of the vests found nothing wrong. And while there were rumors that the Pentagon Inspector General's office might conduct an investigation into the faulty vest affair, to date there is no sign that one is underway. Instead, the Defense Department is focusing on alleged financial wrongdoing at DHB -- a matter further from their own hands.

I'd feel confident in body armor that passed one out of two sampling tests -- nothing in life is guaranteed! And Brooks seems like the sort who'd never put his own interests before others.

I doubt this news will cause the wingnuts to sign on to John Edwards' Two Americas campaign. But perhaps the fact that the Senegalese spiritual leaders on the receiving end of Brooks' generosity are "Muslim holy men" will cause the nuts to wake up and soil themselves.