A private security firm owned by Elliott Broidy, a top fundraiser and associate of President Trump, has been conducting business illegally in the state of Florida, sources with direct knowledge have told TYT.
The Virginia-based security firm—Circinus, LLC—was acquired in 2015 by Threat Deterrence, LLC, another company owned by Broidy, a spokesman for Circinus told TYT. Broidy is a controversial L.A.-based venture capitalist who has served in various fundraising roles for Trump, including his position as deputy finance chairman of the Republican National Committee (RNC). Broidy resigned from the RNC last month after a report that he paid $1.6 million to a former Playboy model he had impregnated. Broidy also has close ties to United Arab Emirates adviser George Nader, who is now cooperating with the Mueller investigation.
Broidy reportedly has promoted Circinus in meetings with President Trump, once praising its work developing a paramilitary force for the UAE. He has also been a guest of Mr. Trump’s at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.
Now, two sources with direct knowledge of the company’s operations tell TYT that Circinus has had multiple armed employees operating in Florida without a proper license since at least 2013, a year before Broidy purchased the company. Operations in Florida continued under Broidy, the sources said.
According to a records department official at the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the Circinus application was denied because it did not provide a physical address or articles of incorporation. The application was denied in July of 2014; Circinus did not apply again for any other license, the official said. (Sources say that Circinus operated in Florida for at least a year before the denial.)
One source told TYT that Circinus did not provide a proper business address on its application because it did not have one in Florida—making it illegal under state law for Circinus to operate there.
A spokesperson for Circinus told TYT that the firm “has new leadership that started in July of 2015 when Threat Deterrence purchased the company, and they do not have visibility into this issue.”
However, there is no indication that Circinus has ceased doing business in Florida since Broidy’s purchase. Circinus’ website still lists Florida as one of its domestic locations. The company’s website posted at least two Florida job listings on its Facebook page in February 2016; one in Tampa and one in Homestead.
According to the Florida government website that lists business permits, the rejected Circinus application included an address that appears to be a residential apartment complex called The Charleston at Boca Raton. The phone number given is in Fredericksburg, Virginia, where Circinus has its headquarters.
The denied application names Circinus CEO Alan Blaine Stone and Chief Operating Officer Carson Edmondson among the company’s principals. According to one of the sources, Stone had previously refused to apply for a permit, even though he “absolutely” knew that the company was not legally authorized to operate in Florida.
“I think they didn’t want Florida to know they were there,” a source said. The other source said that they had seen no indication that Circinus ceased its operations in Florida.
TYT granted anonymity to both sources, due to what they described as fear of retaliation from the “aggressive” and “very, very intimidating” company. Employees, including former military and law enforcement, are armed with handguns and an AR-15 assault rifle with hundreds of rounds.
Circinus declined to answer questions about its operations, including its role in Florida. The Circinus spokesperson, who spoke to TYT on the condition they not be named, said in an email that, “The former CEO [Alan] Blaine Stone is no longer with the company and it is being operated by Chief Operating Officer Stan Manning.”
However, Circinus’ website still lists Stone as its CEO in its “leadership” section; a LinkedIn page bearing Stone’s name lists him as CEO of Circinus Defence, SRL—reportedly an offshoot of Circinus registered in Romania. McClatchy Washington Bureau reported in March that Broidy has been trying to gin up business in Romania.
The Circinus website also lists former Democratic Sen. Bob Kerrey of Nebraska as a board member. In an email, Kerrey told TYT, “Although it has been reported that I am on the board, I am not.”
Kerrey added, “I have asked them to take that down. I have been providing very limited advice to some of their team as they develop and implement strategies to help allies deal with an array of new risks. From my limited exposure, I am confident they are building important capabilities that will save lives.”
Florida requires a variety of permits for companies and employees to operate a private security agency with armed security officers. Noncompliance is subject to penalties ranging from fines to imprisonment. Circinus apparently applied only for a Type B license, which covers security agencies. No applications appear for licenses permitting operation of a security branch office, or for any individual license, such as manager or security officer.
The permits are required to conduct operations such as personal security or guarding property. According to the sources, Circinus has been employed to provide personal security within Florida since Broidy purchased the company.
Broidy in recent months come under scrutiny for pitching access to President Trump as a reward for potential clients of Circinus.
During the 2016 campaign, Broidy served on the Trump Victory Committee, the joint fundraising committee of Trump’s campaign and the Republican National Committee (RNC). After the election, he served on the Presidential Inaugural Committee; and as deputy national finance chairman of the RNC until April. Broidy’s access to Trump reportedly stems from the fact that he was a top fundraiser for Trump at a time when other top Republican donors were reluctant to contribute.
Today, Circinus operates all over the world. After Trump’s inauguration, Circinus’ business appeared to grow. Circinus began lobbying the U.S. government for the first time in 2017. From July 17 through September 30 of last year, Circinus paid $60,000 to a lobbying firm for the sole purpose of lobbying the office of Vice President Mike Pence for “opportunities for government contracts.” Circinus paid another $20,000 in October for the same purpose.
On August 18, 2017, Circinus began work on a one-year contract potentially worth almost $17 million from the Department of the Army for the DoD. The company also reportedly signed contracts with the United Arab Emirates collectively worth several hundred million dollars.
In March, The Wall Street Journal reported that Broidy at one point discussed a deal in which he would seek to help get the Justice Department to drop its investigation into a Malaysian government-owned investment fund’s multibillion-dollar graft scandal. Broidy potentially stood to gain tens of millions of dollars in fees from one of the figures at the scandal’s center if he got the investigation dropped.
Broidy now stands to become embroiled in an investigation of Trump lawyer Michael Cohen. The Wall Street Journal reported that Broidy paid Cohen to negotiate a nondisclosure agreement with the model Broidy allegedly impregnated. Cohen used the same shell company that he used for Trump’s hush money for pornographic-film actress Stormy Daniels. Cohen is currently under investigation for bank and wire fraud in relation to the payments to Ms. Daniels.
In years past, Broidy was a top bundler for other national Republican campaigns, until his 2009 guilty plea for bribing a New York government official in a case involving state pension funds.