Wednesday, November 30, 2005

This is what you call the granddaddy of bat mitzvahs

Culture: I can see the jaws dropping and yelling about materialism run amoked. But when you can get Fiddy, Aerosmith, Don Henley to show up at you kid's coming of age bash, I got to say damn.

History will forever record Elizabeth Brooks' bat mitzvah as "Mitzvahpalooza." For his daughter's coming-of-age celebration last weekend, multimillionaire Long Island defense contractor David H. Brooks booked two floors of the Rainbow Room, hauled in concert-ready equipment, built a stage, installed special carpeting, outfitted the space with Jumbotrons and arranged command performances by everyone from 50 Cent to Tom Petty to Aerosmith. I hear it was garish display of rock 'n' roll idol worship for which the famously irascible CEO of DHB Industries, a Westbury-based manufacturer of bulletproof vests, sent his company jet to retrieve Aerosmith's Steven Tyler and Joe Perry from their Saturday gig in Pittsburgh. I'm also told that in honor of Aerosmith (and the $2 million fee I hear he paid for their appearance), the 50-year-old Brooks changed from a black-leather, metal-studded suit - accessorized with biker-chic necklace chains and diamonds from Chrome Hearts jewelers - into a hot-pink suede version of the same lovely outfit. The party cost an estimated $10 million, including the price of corporate jets to ferry the performers to and from. Also on the bill were The Eagles' Don Henley and Joe Walsh performing with Fleetwood Mac's Stevie Nicks; DJ AM (Nicole Richie's fiance); rap diva Ciara and, sadly perhaps (except that he received an estimated $250,000 for the job), Kenny G blowing on his soprano sax as more than 300 guests strolled and chatted into their pre-dinner cocktails. "Hey, that guy looks like Kenny G," a disbelieving grownup was overheard remarking - though the 150 kids in attendance seemed more impressed by their $1,000 gift bags, complete with digital cameras and the latest video iPod. For his estimated $500,000, I hear that 50 Cent performed only four or five songs - and badly - though he did manage to work in the lyric, "Go shorty, it's your bat miztvah, we gonna party like it's your bat mitzvah."
Bat Mitzvahs seem to be a good place to make extra money on the side.
A bat mitzvah's not the sort of event that normally warrants a press release. But Amber Ridinger's coming-of-age was no cheap banquet-hall bash. On Saturday Amber, a Miami Country Day School eighth-grader and aspiring fashion designer, became "I'm really here just to scare all the little boys, the little 13-year-old bad boys that try to hit on little Amber." — Ja Rule an adult — and it only cost her parents $500,000. Ridinger's bat mitzvah ceremony was followed by a chichi party that doubled as an out-of-this-world 13th-birthday celebration. It unfolded inside Miami Beach club the Forge, and the party's guests arrived in limos to a pink carpet cluttered with television cameras and local news crews. Oh, and the entire evening was capped off with musical performances by Ja Rule, Ashanti, Marques Houston and Omarion. The guest list also included embattled Inc. president Irv Gotti, Playboy Playmate-turned-actress Brande Roderick and Nicole Richie's husband-to-be, DJ AM.
Update# Looks like SEC are going to be interested in how he paid for the party.
DAVID H. Brooks, the Long Island bullet-proof vest tycoon who spent $10 million for his daughter's bat mitzvah bash on Saturday, is being investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission. Brooks gained notoriety when it was revealed he had hired Aerosmith, the Eagles, Stevie Nicks, 50 Cent, Ciara, Kenny G and Tom Petty to play at a party for his 13-year-old daughter, Elizabeth, on both floors of the Rainbow Room. Brooks' company, DHB, a defense contractor that makes bullet-proof vests for the U.S. military, has been the subject of several class-action suits stemming from a government recall of its body armor. In May, the Marine Corps recalled 5,277 combat vests made by a DHB subsidiary issued to troops in Iraq and Afghanistan because of concerns that they failed a test to determine whether they could stop a bullet, reports Foxnews.com's Roger Friedman. That happened five months after DHB announced a $100 million contract with the Defense Department on Dec. 23, 2004. The contract, Brooks said at the time, could be worth as much as $500 million. Coincidentally, Friedman reports on the Web site, Brooks and the insiders at his company sold off about $200 million worth of DHB stock between Nov. 29 and Dec. 29, 2004. Brooks, according to publicly available filings, sold about $186 million himself. Last weekend, Brooks sent his company jet to fly Aerosmith in from Pittsburgh. The band, which reportedly took the stage at 2:45 a.m., allowed Brooks' teenage nephew to play drums. The group's $1 million fee buys a lot of cooperation. The 50-year-old tycoon, who changed from a black leather suit into a magenta suede biker outfit covered with chains, later told a reporter he wouldn't comment on "a private event." Federal investigators will undoubtedly be interested in how Brooks paid for the party. One area they are already looking into is how DHB bought parts from a company controlled by his wife. A spokesman for Brooks, Manuel Rubio, said the company had no comment.

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