Attorney Stella Writes to DA and State Re: Mercenaries 07.11.13

Read these letters on Woodsperson Blog

With the revelation that Bulletproof Security, Inc.had been operating illegally in Wisconsin, attorney Stella filed complaints today with the Iron County district attorney and the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services.  He also chides DA Lipske for apparent intended lenience toward Bulletproof.

Letter to Iron County District Attorney  from ANTHONY J. STELLA, JR. -Attorney at Law- P.O. Box 296  Hurley, WI 54534 Phone: 906-364-2255 Email:

July 11, 2013

TO: Martin Lipske, District Attorney 300 Taconite Street, Hurley, WI 54534

Re: Bulletproof Securities, Inc.

Dear Mr. Lipske:

Attached is a letter I submitted to the Wisconsin Dept. of Safety and Professional

Services today. You are aware of the situation, as reported in the newspapers.

Although the State has the authority to refuse to issue licenses or permits, you have the

authority to obtain criminal convictions which insure that the company is not allowed to

continue to work in Wisconsin.

As you can see by the attached letter, the violations are numerous. The criminal statute is

clear, and does not require intent. Anyone caught driving or hunting without a license or

insurance would be expected to pay a fine. This is a much more serious situation,

involving private security persons armed with assault weapons, showing lack of

knowledge or respect for state laws regulating their licensing and their use of weapons.

It is fortunate that a serious incident did not result -- it was extremely fortunate for

Bulletproof Securities and GTAC from a liability standpoint.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel quoted you as saying you would “take into account the

fact that the security services were being voluntarily suspended,” when deciding whether

to issue charges. If that is true, that is ridiculous. There is nothing voluntary about

discontinuing undisputed violations of a criminal statute. The statement suggests the

company had a choice to continue in violation of state laws, even while the newspapers

and other media were reporting the failure to be in compliance. It’s sort of like

suggesting an embezzler get leniency because he “voluntarily” agreed to stop stealing

after he was caught. Furthermore, GTAC’s press release indicates the company was

directed to “stand down” by GTAC, so it’s hard to see how Bulletproof Securities’

actions were in any way voluntary on their part.

Iron County faces a long road ahead with the division over the mining issues. You have

sent a message already to those who would intimidate workers and damage property at

the mine site. Large, out-of-state corporations intending to do business in Iron County

should also be sent the early message that they will be expected to play by the rules, and

will not be given breaks for violations after the fact. GTAC and its contractors cannot be

allowed to claim ignorance at the outset, as much is expected of them with regard to

compliance with a myriad of public safety, environmental and mining regulations in the

future. A mere slap on the hand sends the wrong message.

In the event you consider any agreement to withhold or dismiss charges in this matter, it

will hopefully include provisions to prevent Bulletproof Securities, Inc. from operating in

Iron County in the future.


Anthony J. Stella, Jr.

Letter to Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services

ANTHONY J. STELLA, JR. -Attorney at Law- P.O. Box 296 Hurley, WI 54534 Phone: 906-364-2255 Email:

July 11, 2013

Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services P.O. Box 8935 Madison, WI 53708-8935

Sent VIA FAX #608-266-2264

RE: Anticipated Application of Bulletproof Securities, Inc. of Scottsdale Arizona to be Licensed as a Private Detective Agency Employing Security Personnel in the State of Wisconsin

Dear Sir/Madam:

It has come to my attention that Bulletproof Securities, Inc. will be seeking a license to

operate in the State of Wisconsin as a private detective agency pursuant to Section 440.26

Wis. Stats. It is the apparent intent of Bulletproof Securities to employ private security

personnel in Wisconsin.

It is my understanding that in order to provide private security services, the company

must obtain a private detective agency license pursuant to Section 440.26(2)(a)1. Further,

any employees working for Bulletproof as private security personnel must receive a

private security permit under Section 440.26(5m).

It has been widely reported in state and local newspapers that Bulletproof Securities, Inc.

has employed private security personnel at the site of the proposed Gogebic Taconite, Inc.

(GTAC) iron mine in Iron County since July 4th. The personnel have patrolled a

wooded area in the vicinity of drilling sites dressed in camouflaged clothing with their

faces concealed, while carrying semi-automatic weapons. Both GTAC and Bulletproof

have admitted this. Several photos confirm the activity.

I am informed, and both GTAC and Bulletproof have apparently confirmed, that no

Wisconsin-issued licenses or permits exist for either Bulletproof Securities or any of its


According to Section 440.26(8), “Any person, acting as a private detective, investigator

or private security person, or who employs any person who solicits, advertises or

performs services in this state as a private detective or private security person, or

investigator or special investigator, without having procured the license or permit

required by this section, may be fined not less than $100 nor more than $500 or

imprisoned not less than 3 months nor more than 6 months or both.”

It is clear, therefore, that both Bulletproof Securities, Inc. and its individual employees

have committed criminal offenses punishable by fines and jail. The statute also provides

that if they were to be convicted, they would be disqualified from holding the necessary

licenses and permits. Thus, it is clear that if the district attorney were to obtain

convictions, the corporation and its employees would, as a matter of law, be disqualified

from working in Wisconsin. It remains to be seen what will happen in this regard.

However, according to Wisconsin Administrative Code Rule SPS 31.05, any applications

for permits or licenses as describe above may be denied if the applicant’s conduct is

grounds for discipline under Rule 35.01.

Rule 35.01(2) provides grounds for discipline for anyone: “Violating, or aiding or

abetting the violation of, any law the circumstances of which substantially relate to the

practice of a private detective or private security person.” This section does not appear to

require a conviction. The violation, in this case, by both Bulletproof and its employees is

clear and has been admitted.

Rule 35.01(4m) says it is a violation and therefore grounds for discipline for “failing to

have on his or her person a private security permit while on duty as a private security

person and, if carrying a firearm on, about or near his or her person while on duty, failing

to have on his or her person the firearms permit issued by the department.”

Section 35.01(13) states it is a violation to assign “any person to perform private

detective or security personnel duties who has not been issued a license or permit prior to

performing the services or who has not properly notified the department of an

employment transfer pursuant to Section 32.05.

Section 35.01(19) specifically makes it a violation to practice without a current


Each of the above Administrative Rules has been violated, and is therefore grounds to

deny issuance of a license to Bulletproof Securities, or permits for the offending


Additionally, I believe the following other rules have been violated. Pursuant to Section

35.01(9), violation of any of these rules constitutes grounds for discipline of a license or

permit holder, and hence, grounds for denial of a license or permit pursuant to Rule


Section 33.025 states: “A private security person shall have on his or her person while on

duty as a private security person the private security permit issued to him or her by the

department and, if carrying a firearm, the firearms permit issued to him or her by the


Section 33.03 Requires name tags which must be clearly visible to the public at all times.

I do not know if name tags were present, but if they were, clearly the intent was that the

persons themselves would not even be seen.

Section 33.02 states: “A private security person holding a permit shall wear a uniform

while on duty.” Section 30.01(14) defines uniform as “any clothing, badge, patch or

lettering which clearly identifies to the public a person being a security guard.” (emphasis


The violation of this last rule is perhaps the most distressing. The clear intent of the law

is to give the public notice that those who carry guns and attempt to exert authority be

easily recognized as persons of authority. It would not be unreasonable for a citizen to

act in fear and refuse to obey, and perhaps even draw a weapon, on a person appearing

from within the woods dressed in full camouflaged gear with his face covered,

brandishing what looks like a military weapon. The intent of the law is to provide for

visibility and deterrence -- not stealth, deception and fear. There are many possible

results to being approached in the woods by someone dressed like the Bulletproof

employees were, and a lot of them aren’t good.

I cannot overstate the significance of the clothing and weapons displayed, because, as was

clearly admitted by GTAC, these soldier-look-alikes were not confining their activities to

providing necessary safety. When asked why they wore the camouflaged gear, GTAC’s

spokesperson Bob Seitz said, “These people aren’t supposed to be seen. This is probably

the first time that visitors from the Harvest Camp have spotted them.” It is clear from this

statement that the public was not supposed to even see, let alone perceive the outfits worn

as uniforms of security personnel, regardless of whether there might have been small

company patches on them. Mr. Seitz’s statements also indicate the primary purpose

wasn’t to deter persons from advancing on property or employees; rather, it was to gather

intelligence. The Harvest Camp is a group of mostly Native American tribal members

camping in the area. Mr. Seitz indicated it was the job of the security personnel to

conduct surveillance of camps in the area.

SPS 34.01(1) states: “No owner or employee of an agency may carry on, about or near

their person any firearm unless all of the following apply:

(a) The circumstances or conditions of the owner's or employee's assignment as a private

security person give rise to a substantial need for being armed.” (other requirements

follow this provision)

It is clear that semi-automatic weapons were not appropriate for stealth surveillance,

where their presence would only serve to scare or provoke, and there were no clients or

property to protect, and no impending threats. Secretly scouting the woods with guns

near campsites and spying on others while dressed in camo gear is clearly not a private

security detail giving rise to a substantial need for being armed. Any need for firearms in

that situation would have been precipitated by the Bulletproof employees’ own

provocative actions, rather than the need to protect the client or its property. The law

seeks to discourage the display of guns in a manner which is likely to provoke problems

rather than prevent them. It does not allow the use of guns for intelligence gathering

purposes. The activity of carrying the guns was, in any event, a clear violation of

34.01(1)(c) mandating that firearms cannot be carried without a permit issued under Rule

34.015. (Emphasis added) Furthermore, even if a temporary private security permit were to be issued, it

could not allow for carrying firearms.

There are numerous other rules violations, but these are more than sufficient to deny any

licenses or permits. The department should use its discretion to deny all permits and

licenses. As I indicated above, should the Iron County District Attorney use his

discretion to seek criminal convictions, which are clearly warranted under the facts, then

the department will not even have the discretion to issue a license or permits. By copy of

this letter I am apprising Iron County District Attorney Martin Lipske of this matter. I

would hope that any agreement to withhold prosecution in this matter would contain a

condition that Bulletproof and its employees be banned from further activities in

Wisconsin. Those who seek to enforce the law should be held to abide by it.

It stands to reason that if this company and its employees did not read the laws and rules

requiring licenses and permits, they did not read the laws and rules regarding lawful use

of firearms in Wisconsin, along with the rules regulating clothing, I.D.’s, badges,

insurance requirements, etc. GTAC’s spokesperson Bob Seitz was quoted in the

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel as saying “This isn’t normal for any of us, I guess,” when

trying to explain how they were unaware of the permits needed. It should be routine for a

company that does this for a living. It is inexcusable AND criminal that Bulletproof

Securities, Inc. came into Wisconsin without any licenses or permits and broke several

laws and administrative rules while in the process of intimidating local residents with

over-the-top displays of killing capacity.

In explaining its advantage over local law enforcement, the company’s website brags, “In

addition, we have the ability to dress in any fashion with any type of weapon system

made. We have superior equipment and vehicles and are not limited to department

policies and procedures.”

In Wisconsin, they DON’T have the option to “dress in any fashion,” nor to use “any

weapon system made.” And in Iron County, we prefer our law enforcement personnel to

follow “policies and procedures.”

I therefore respectfully request that the Department deny any licenses or permits to

Bulletproof Securities, Inc. and its offending employees. I do not believe any of the

pertinent facts are in dispute, and most of what I have set forth is easily confirmed with

photos, media accounts, and direct admissions by GTAC and Bulletproof Securities,

including a written letter signed by GTAC president Bill Williams.


Anthony J. Stella, Jr

Copy: District Attorney Martin Lipske