A local company that provides security for Wrigley Field and the Chicago Marathon has lost its license to operate in Minnesota after an investigation found widespread hiring irregularities, inadequate training, and double-billing.
|Monterrey CEO Juan Gaytán outside Wrigley Field|
Monterrey Security’s contract to provide guards for Minneapolis’ U.S. Bank Stadium, home of the Minnesota Vikings, has been canceled as a result of the investigation.
“Hundreds and hundreds and hundreds” of Monterrey’s personnel were not adequately trained and licensed according to Richard Hodsdon, chairman of the Minnesota Private Detective and Protective Services Agency Board. The firm also double-billed the stadium and failed to conduct background checks, officials said.
Among the guards provided by Monterrey was Ricky Eugene Pouncil, who served 16 months in prison after he was convicted of trying to extort money from a 57-year-old man in a 2010 sexting conspiracy.
Pouncil and a friend blackmailed the suburban Minneapolis businessman after the friend convinced the target to send sexually explicit text messages, prosecutors said.
The man was later found dead in a remote area. A note left behind said “I am being extorted over $500,000. Best for my family and friends.”
Despite the conviction, Pouncil was found checking security credentials at the door of U.S. Bank stadium during an NFL game last season, authorities said.
Felons are prohibited from holding security jobs in Minnesota.
Monterrey’s problems are not over in Minnesota. The FBI and state authorities continue to look into allegations that the company falsified government documents and hired convicted criminals.
The company’s president, Juan Gayan, Jr, called the Minnesota problems “administrative issues.”
Monterrey reportedly admitted to Minnesota licensing regulators that they bused in 100 workers from Chicago to work the Viking’s home opener last month against the New Orleans Saints. The company said it could not find workers in the Twin Cities.
“We were operating to the best of our ability, following industry best practices and trying to do our best,” a Monterrey official said.
Two new security companies have taken over for Monterrey in Minnesota. Both said they are interested in hiring displaced Monterrey employees who successfully complete background checks and licensing requirements.
In addition to the Marathon and Cubs, Monterrey provides guards for the Bears, Blackhawks, and the Chicago Pride Parade.
The Chicago Cubs and Monterrey Security did not respond to requests for comment. The Chicago Police Department was not able to provide an immediate response due to time constraints. We will publish the department’s statement when it is made available.
|At right: a police look-alike who was working for Walsh Security in Wrigleyville during last year’s Cubs post-season.|
CWBChicago first reported on the Minnesota situation in June after publishing a series of reports that showed another local security company utilized unlicensed guards and police look-alikes while patrolling Lakeview during last year’s Cubs post-season.
And, our reporters first raised questions about the qualifications of the private security firms hired to patrol public events after the June 2016 Pulse Nightclub shooting.
Our interest then was in knowing how the city would confirm that Chicago Pride Parade organizers would provide a promised 160 off-duty police officers for parade security.
44th Ward Alderman Tom Tunney’s office referred us to Chicago Special Events Management, which stated “Our security service is license [sic], bonded and insured, [it is the] same group that does the neighborhood security for the Chicago Cubs. Most are permitted for carrying firearms, a few are certified…but non-carrying firearms. All are certified security personnel.”
No one ever answered our questions about how the city would confirm that organizers provided all of the officers they promised to or how the city would ensure the guards’ qualifications.
Notably, after our inquiry about security, Alderman Tom Tunney’s office immediately ceased all communication with us. To this day, his office will not comment to us on any topic whatsoever. It makes us wonder what it was about the security questions that caused them to clam up.