In the chaos that followed the attacks of September 11, 2001, David H. Brooks got rich. He transformed a small, struggling company called DHB Industries into one of the biggest body armor manufacturers in the nation, supplying American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. Stock prices soared from $2 to $20.
But as business boomed, so did expenses: luxury cars, prostitutes for his employees, plastic surgery for his wife, even a $100,000 bejeweled belt buckle befitting Tony Stark himself -- at least according to prosecutors in New York, where Brooks is on trial for fraud.
Now Brooks's old company, renamed Point Blank Solutions, has moved to Pompano Beach. And despite filing for bankruptcy and questions over the quality of its products, Point Blank is selling body armor to Miami's SWAT team.
The company has quickly distanced itself from the man who transformed it into a Teflon powerhouse.
"Point Blank Solutions has no comment on David Brooks, as he hasn't been affiliated with the company since 2006," says spokesman Glenn Wiener. Prior to moving to Pompano Beach, the business was headquartered on Long Island, where Brooks's trial is now being held.
The company's website lists Miami SWAT as one of its customers, adding:
SWAT teams are trained to perform high-risk operations that typically fall outside the responsibility of regular officers, with duties including hostage rescues, counter-terrorism operations, high-risk arrests and search warrants, and engaging heavily-armed criminals. Because of these higher level threat situations, SWAT officers require specialized weaponry and body armor systems and accessories.A website for a Point Blank line of body armor called PACA shows Miami SWAT officers receiving awards for surviving gunshots -- all thanks to the company's body armor. The website even quotes police spokesman Cmdr. Delrish Moss as saying, "Thank God he was wearing his vest -- because he's alive."
An article in yesterday's New York Times that described the charges against Brooks also claimed "there have been questions about the vests produced by the company, similar to questions faced by others in the industry, regarding both the use of a material now known to become more permeable in high heat and the lack of protection provided to some vital areas."
Wiener, the Point Blank spokesman, vigorously denied that suggestion, saying, "We've had no issues with our body armor, no reports of problems, and no lives negatively affected. We stand by our products and continue to get orders for them from around the world."
But an unaffiliated website apparently set up to defend Brooks's reputation does make mention of investigations into the company's body armor, alleging "he was attacked by a reporter from one of the major news companies through malicious verbal and media attacks on his body armor technology."
Brooks's lawyers began their closing arguments Monday.