WAR PROFITS AND BAT MITZVAHS

David H. Brooks loves his little girl and, like any good dad, wanted her to have a memorable Bat Mitzvah. So, last November, David booked both floors of New York's opulent Rainbow Room for her party and sent private jets to fetch such musicians as Aerosmith, Tom Petty, Kenny G, Don Henley, 50 Cent, and DJ AM to entertain her and 300 of her best friends, each of whom was also given a little "party favor" – a bag of electronics and other goodies worth $1,000. Total cost of the Bat Mitzvah bash: $10 million.

David H. Brooks loves his little girl and, like any good dad, wanted her to have a memorable Bat Mitzvah. So, last November, David booked both floors of New York’s opulent Rainbow Room for her party and sent private jets to fetch such musicians as Aerosmith, Tom Petty, Kenny G, Don Henley, 50 Cent, and DJ AM to entertain her and 300 of her best friends, each of whom was also given a little “party favor” – a bag of electronics and other goodies worth $1,000. Total cost of the Bat Mitzvah bash: $10 million.

You could just write this off as yet another crass example of the excesses of the superrich, except for the source of Brooks’ wealth. He is a war profiteer.

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David’s company, DHB Industries, got a lucrative Pentagon contract after 9/11 to provide bulletproof vests to our troops in Iraq. Unfortunately, the vests were flawed, and both the marines and army had to recall more than 23,000 of them last year.

Meanwhile, David had used his company’s war windfall to line his own pockets. Prior to the Iraq war, he paid himself $525,000 a year. That’s a nice payday, but in 2004, he jacked up his take to $70 million – a 13,000 percent increase! That’s not all. He also made a massive selloff of his DHB stock that same year, pocketing another $186 million.

But the sight of the CEO suddenly dumping his own stock spooked other investors, who drove DHB’s stock price from $22 a share to under $7. Brooks is presently under investigation by the SEC for financial wrongdoing, and he faces several lawsuits by investors for fraud and insider trading.

This is Jim Hightower saying… To learn how we can stop such obscene war profiteering and other excesses by greedheaded CEOs, contact the Institute for Policy Studies and see its report entitled Executive Excess 2005: (202) 234-9382.

Sources:
“War Profiteer Knows How to Party,” CommonDreams.org, December 1, 2005.
“Mitzvahpalooza,” www.pogo.com, December 1, 2005.
“Another Marie Antoinette Moment,” The New York Times, January 2, 2006.
“Executive Excess 2005, Defense Contractors Get More Bucks for the Bang,” Institute for Policy Studies/ United for a Fair Economy, August 30, 2005.

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