Great blog post about this:
March 29, 2008
Botach Tactical and AEY Inc., family arms dealerships
How did an unknown firm with a 22-year-old president secure US defense contracts worth over $300 million?
AEY, Inc. won, and subsequently lost a multi-million dollar contract to supply ammunition to Afghanistan, The New York Times reported on Thurdsay. The firm's president, 22-year-old Efraim Diveroli, is scheduled to testify before Congress in April.
Efraim Diveroli probably didn't land those contracts all by himself, public records show.
Efraim's dad, Michael Diveroli, told the media that he had nothing to do with his son's arms trading.
"I would prefer he became a nice Jewish doctor or lawyer rather than an arms dealer. He's never asked for my approval on the company. He doesn't always take my advice, I don't influence him. As a father of a boy genius he's hard to control," Michael Diveroli told WFOR-TV.
That's hard to believe. Fedvendor.com lists Michael Diveroli as AEY's sales manager and its government business contact. The elder Diveroli incorporated AEY in 1999 and installed his son as president in 2005. Michael Diveroli also has two businesses of his own that get government contracts for police equipment and office supplies.
The House Oversight Committee will hold hearings on April 17th to investigate AEY's history, past performance, and compliance with US and contracting law. Efraim Diveroli, AEY vice president David Packouz, and AEY general manager Levi Meyer have been invited to testify, along with senior officials from the Departments of State and Defense. Neither Michael Diveroli nor his arms dealing brother-in-law, BK Botach, is scheduled to testify.
Efraim Diveroli's uncle Bar Kochba Botach is in the weapons business. According to the New York Times, Efraim Diveroli worked for his uncle BK at Botach Tactical, a purveyor of police and military supplies, headquartered in Los Angeles:
The younger Diveroli’s munitions experience appeared to be limited to a short-lived job in Los Angeles for Botach Tactical, a military and police supply company owned by his uncle, Bar-Kochba Botach.
Mr. Diveroli cut off an interview when asked about Botach Tactical. Mr. Botach, reached by telephone, said that both Michael and Efraim Diveroli had briefly worked for him, but that after seeing the rush of federal contracts available after the wars began, they had struck out on their own.
“They just left me and took my customer base with them,” he said. “They basically said: ‘Why should we work for Botach? Let’s do it on our own.’ ” [NYT]
Botach Tactical is part of Botach Defense Group. (BDG coupon codes available here.)
At left, you'll see the Botach Defense/Botach Tactical logo, a red Star of David and a sword, emanating lighting bolts.
Botach Tactical's website sells everything from boots and "tactical undergear" to handcuffs to tomahawks to pocket search mirrors.
Botach Tactical doesn't advertise guns or explosives on its Yahoo-hosted website, but they will sell you plastic training guns and real magazines. Body bags, too. (Before you whip out your credit cards, be advised that Botach seems to have a lot of bitterly dissatisfied customers.)
In 2005 Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Ca) and some of her constituents confronted Botach at his at unmarked establishment at 3423 W. 43rd Place in Los Angeles. Local residents and city officials became concerned when they found out that Botach had quietly converted a former pawn shop into a gun dealership 12 years earlier. Botach has many other business interests in California, including Botach Management, also at 3423 W. 43rd Place, and a cold storage warehouse around the corner from his tactical store/gun dealership/property management company.
Kley Zion is Botach Tactical's sister firm. Arguably, Kley Zion and Botach Tactical are the same company. According to the masthead on its homepage Kley Zion is "Your Professional Specialist Serving the World[:] Law Enforcement - Military - Public Safety Special Operations - Corporate Security."
Botach and Kley Zion not only share quarters at 43rd Place in Los Angeles, they also have the same federal tax ID number, the same DUNS number, and the same GSA contracting number, according to their respective websites. The klezion.com domain is registered to Bar Kochba Botach. The fictitious business name "Botach Tactical Kley Zion" was filed at the Los Angeles County Recorders office in 2006. "Botach Tactical" is a separate fictitious name for a California partnership between BK and Schlomo Botach.
According to their respective websites, both Botach Tactical and Kley Zion are pre-approved to supply goods to the federal government, including the GSA and the Defense Department. However, only Botach appears to have been awarded federal contracts.
Over the past 8 years, Botach Tactical amassed federal contracts worth over $10.8 million.
Botach sells various weapons and ammunition to a handful of federal clients, but these products account for a relatively small share of the company's business with the federal government. Botach makes most of its federal money by filling large numbers of small orders for products classified as "individual equipment," including specialty clothing, boots, and headsets. They also do a brisk business in night vision goggles and other optical equipment.
On Fedvendor.com, Botach Tactical has two profiles. One of them lists physical and mailing addresses in California. The other says that Botach Tactical's mailing address is the same Miami Beach address as AEY, down to the suite number:
925 41ST. SUITE 306 MIAMI BEACH, Florida 33140-3339 3423 W 43RD PLACE LOS ANGELES, California 90008, USA Tel: 305-534-0777 Fax: 305-534-1297 Contact
Information: Michael Diveroli 3423 W 43RD PLACE LOS ANGELES, California 90008, USA Tel: 305-534-0777 Fax: 305-534-1297
Note that Botach's contact person is Michael Diveroli, Efraim's father. Michael Diveroli's stated address, above, is Botach Tactical's LA headquarters. One old company profile I found on Lexis-Nexis lists Michael Diveroli as the owner of Botach Tactical, probably incorrectly.
The Miami Beach address also shows up on a handful of Botach contracts awarded between 1999 and 2004--as the only address. These contracts also specify that the work will be performed in Florida. So, it appears that Botach Tactical had a significant presence in Florida for several years.
There's no indication that BK Botach had anything to do with the ammunition contract that got AEY in trouble.
The media are captivated by the idea that a boy genius and his twenty-something buddies cooked up a $300 million arms deal. No doubt, Efraim has a very impressive CV for an arms dealer his age. (He was allegedly caught on tape negotiating with Albanian officials.) Yet, the record suggests that members of Efraim's family probably had a much greater role in this enterprise than they're letting on. At the very least, family connections help explain Efraim's extraordinary success in securing contracts.
Now that Efraim has left the country, the Michael Diveroli appears to be shifting the blame to his absent son.
* Freedom is the human right to live your life however you damn well please, so long as you don't interfere with another's right to do the same.
* "Don't believe them, don't fear them, don't ask anything of them." --Alexander Solzhenitsyn