MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — State lawmakers are trying to get to the bottom of the security changes at U.S. Bank Stadium.
Monterrey Security’s contract was terminated last month after an investigation uncovered contract violations and possible security breaches. The company was fired at U.S. Bank Stadium after a series of incidents that included untrained or unlicensed officers.
An investigation by a Minnesota licensing board found Monterrey employed at least one felon during US Bank Stadium events.
“There was a Monterrey security officer that actually was wearing an ankle bracelet,” said Greg Cook, from the Minnesota Board of Private Detective and Protective Agents, “because he was making terroristic threats to the FBI.”
A security breach in January raised a lot of red flags — that’s when demonstrators protesting the Dakota Oil Pipeline hung by ropes from stadium rafters during a Minnesota Vikings game.
“I’m very troubled by this,” said Rep. Cynthia Pugh (R-Chanhassen). “The more I read, the more concerned I am.”
State lawmakers at the State Government Finance Committee were incredulous at the hiring of Monterrey in the first place, despite what they said were warning signs.
“We’re living in an increasingly dangerous world,” said Rep. Steve Green (R-Fosston), “and this is very concerning.”
One lawmaker called it “a debacle,” and questioned whether stadium officials adequately vetted the replacement security firm.
“With the national events in Las Vegas and the upcoming Super Bowl, it’s important we get this right, 100 percent,” said Rep. Mark Uglem (R-Champlin).
SMG, the management company running U.S. Bank Stadium, says it conducted a thorough review of two new security companies to replace Monterrey — but lawmakers pressed for an explanation.
“We look at how can we be better,” said Patrick Talty, general manager of SMG. “How can we make things better? Every contract that we do. Every incident like this. We look at what can we do better. What can we do to make sure it doesn’t happen again?”
The Sports Facilities Authority fired Monterrey in September, and immediately hired two new firms — Whelan Security and G4 Security.
Stadium officials say despite security concerns, stadium vistors were never at risk.