MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — U.S. Bank Stadium officials Tuesday abruptly fired the Chicago-based company providing security for the 66,000-seat facility.
The Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority (MSFA) removed Monterrey Security after completing an internal investigation that alleges the company violated its contract.
U.S. Bank Stadium officials say Monterrey Security violated a number of serious security regulations, involving questionable decisions about the people they hired. Monterrey was responsible for 24-hour security at the billion-dollar home of the Minnesota Vikings.
The four-month investigation found the company double billed the stadium, failed to properly do background checks and hired workers with criminal records.
Stadium officials say they fired Monterrey and immediately moved in two new security firms — Whelan Event Services and G4S.
“We want to make sure that everyone knows that the safety and security of our guests is our highest priority,” Mike Vekich of the MSFA said.
The MSFA says Monterrey was not fired because of a serious security breach in January. Protesters hung from rafters high above the seats and unfurled protest banners during a Vikings game.
Monterrey officials said some of the larger stadium events like concerts were harder to staff, and admitted to a state licensing board that they bused in workers from out of state.
“We were operating to the best of our ability, following industry best practices and trying to do our best,” a Monterrey official told the board.
The security switch comes at a critical time — Minnesota is home to the 2018 Super Bowl, a national security event with Homeland Security Protection. Stadium officials, however, say the changes won’t be noticeable.
“We want to make sure this is safe and secure,” Vekich said. “And it is safe and secure. I can say that with confidence.”
Rep. Sarah Anderson says MSFA board members did not do enough to protect the public when they hired Monterrey for $4.2 million, calling it “mismanagment” from a Stadium Authority she says is more interested in luxury suites.
The MFSA says Whelan Security provided support at the Metrodome, and currently support events at TCF Bank Stadium. The company has worked Super Bowls, NCAA Final Four tournaments, and national political conventions.