Miami Child Migrant Camp Operators Plan $100 Million Stock Offering With Firm Once Tied to John Kelly

Miami Child Migrant Camp Operators Plan $100 Million Stock Offering With Firm Once Tied to John Kelly
Photography by Monica McGivern
Photography by Monica McGivern
The Trump administration's family-separation and child-immigrant-detention policies have forced innocent children into horrid, inhumane conditions and, in some cases, have violated international law.

But housing immigrant children has been extremely lucrative for the private contractors running detention facilities. In fact, one Florida company operating at the Homestead Temporary Shelter for Undocumented Children is making so much money off detained kids that it's part of a planned $100 million initial public offering, according to SEC filings reviewed by New Times.

That firm is Comprehensive Health Services, one of the main contractors running Homestead's migrant camp. Comprehensive Health, which was founded in 1975 and is based in Cape Canaveral, holds a federal contract for work at the camp that could be worth as much as $200 million this year. But last year, a larger corporation, Caliburn International LLC, bought Comprehensive Health, and now Caliburn is angling to go public on Wall Street and rake in cash.

To make matters even more interesting: Caliburn was apparently formed by none other than D.C. Capital Partners, a private equity firm that, as of 2017, employed former White House Chief of Staff John Kelly as a lobbyist through a subsidiary. The Intercept reported in January 2017 that D.C. Capital had paid Kelly $37,500 and that he had failed to disclose the payments on government forms. After that news broke, Kelly announced he was severing ties with the company.

The stock filing is certain to elicit debate about the role private government contractors hold in the Trump administration's deportation and immigrant-detention machine. The news also raises questions about the ways former government and military officers are profiting off detention policies they helped create.

Spokespeople for Caliburn did not immediately respond to a message from New Times. But the news has been hiding in plain sight or months: Numerous stock blogs announced Caliburn and D.C. Capital's plans this past October. But no media outlet has reported that Caliburn's portfolio of companies includes Comprehensive Health or that the company has clear ties to Kelly. The founder and managing partner of D.C. Capital, Thomas J. Campbell, is also Caliburn's chairman.

Furthermore, Caliburn's CEO, Jim Van Dusen, previously worked as Comprehensive Health Services' chief financial officer. Van Dusen's LinkedIn page boasts that Caliburn is the fusion of four major government contractors — Janus Global, Sallyport Global, PT&C Engineering, and Comprehensive Health. (New Times previously reported that Comprehensive Health received a huge tax-incentive package from Florida Gov. Rick Scott after the company paid the government a $3 million medical-fraud settlement.)

In October, Caliburn filed SEC "S-1" documents stating the company plans to sell $100 million in Class A stock to Wall Street investors. That filing stated that increased demand for services at Homestead was "projected to drive increased revenue over the back half of 2018 with this client."

In December, Caliburn filed amended documents. The company again said it was making a pretty penny from operating the Homestead shelter. The company stated that demand was up for employee medical screenings at immigrant detention centers and that Caliburn's revenues were rising as a result.

"The revenue growth is due, in part, to increased demand for medical exam management services and the award of new Health and Human Services (HHS) Task Orders at Homestead, Florida and in the Rio Grande Valley, Texas," Caliburn's SEC filings state. "Medical exam management revenue increased by $13.9 million, or 35.6%, from $39.0 million in the nine months ended September 30, 2017, to $52.9 million in the corresponding period in 2018. The change in revenue is due to increased requirements for pre-employment medical screening for new employees on several medical exam management contracts. The Task Order requirements for the HHS IDIQ contract at Homestead Florida have increased since the Task Order was awarded on February 22, 2018."

Caliburn is also staffed with well-connected military veterans: This past Tuesday, Caliburn issued a press release announcing the company had hired former Air Force Lt. Gen. C.D. Moore II, who served as a high-level officer and commander of the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center before he retired in 2014.

New Times broke news last year that the Trump administration had quietly reopened the Obama-era migrant camp in Homestead and placed as many as 1,300 children there. Lawmakers later confirmed some of those kids had been ripped from their families at the border in what is all but certainly a violation of international human rights law.

New Times also confirmed that, when immigrants turn 18, many are often handcuffed and shipped directly — and illegally — to Immigration and Customs Enforcement adult detention centers. New Times spoke with one Guatemalan immigrant who was placed inside the center, and her family said case workers threatened her. The relatives referred to the facility as a "child prison," and it faced large protests last year. The Associated Press reported in December that the federal government plans to add 1,000 more children to the facility in 2019.
KEEP MIAMI NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Jerry Iannelli is a former staff writer for Miami New Times from 2015 to March 2020. He graduated with honors from Temple University. He then earned a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University.