Exclusive: Newly-hired Center on Halsted security company lacks state licenses, regulators say

The Center on Halsted, 3656 North Halsted. | File

The Center On Halsted’s (COH) newly-hired security firm is not licensed to provide security services in Illinois, according to state regulators. Nor do any Quantum Security LLC executives hold a personal security contractor credential as required, the state said.

But a Quantum Security executive said Tuesday that they are working to get in line with state requirements.

The failure to meet state licensing requirements is a bit of deja vu for the city’s largest LGBTQ service agency. In 2012, the Windy City Times reported that COH’s security contractor at the time, Walsh Security, was operating without state-mandated professional licenses.

Walsh Security, owned by embattled Lakeview-based police officer Thomas Walsh, lost its six-figure contract with COH last month after concerns were raised about his alleged involvement in a racially-charged off-duty incident in Boystown.

In an unrelated matter, state regulators have fined and reprimanded Walsh’s two adult children for allegedly providing security services through their own company without first securing proper state licenses

Quantum Security

Some community organizers cheered last month when COH announced that Quantum Security would be replacing Walsh Security at its Halsted Street complex.

“Black LGBTQ+ folk and our allies came together and that gives me a lot of hope,” said Jamie Frazier, an activist who led a campaign against Walsh’s company.

COH hired Quantum after soliciting proposals from security companies that could “provide trauma-informed security guards.”

But there’s a hiccup.

“Any company operating in Illinois as a private security contractor agency must be licensed with [the Illinois Department of Professional Regulation],” according to the agency’s spokesperson. “At this time, Quantum Security is not licensed as a private security contractor agency.”

Laquita Franklin, an executive with Quantum, said the company’s working on it.

“We’re in the process of doing that,” she said. “We’ve paid for it and everything.”

“We didn’t know that we had to have a license,” Franklin continued. “We never tried to operate without a license.”

Quantum Security LLC was formed on April 8, 2018, according to secretary of state records. Franklin said the company has been providing security services “not that long. About a year.”

In addition to the COH, Quantum has reportedly been providing security services to the Howard Brown Health Center, Broadway Youth Center, and other social service agencies. Howard Brown, which also operates the Broadway Youth Center, did not respond to a request for comment.

“We’re the only security company that uses the restorative justice framework,” Franklin said. “Everyone else uses the criminal justice model. Our goal is doing something different.”

Illinois also requires every security company to have one executive, known as a “licensee-in-charge,” who personally holds a state-issued private security contractor license, the IDFPR spokesperson said.

Franklin confirmed that no one at Quantum currently holds those credentials.

“We’re building a company for our kids,” Franklin said, “so they have a legacy.”

Without discussing Quantum specifically, the IDFPR spokesperson said, “if we determine that unlicensed activity is occurring, a cease and desist order will be issued.” 

COH Chief Executive Officer Tico Valle did not respond to multiple emails over the past month seeking comment and context for this report.

A & T Security

The state does, indeed, issue cease and desist orders to companies that operate without proper credentials. Just ask Amanda Walsh and her brother, Thomas Walsh Jr.

The siblings formed A & T Security in October 2013 and then hired out guards for years without ever getting the required regulatory licenses for themselves or the company, according to state records, IDFPR disciplinary files, and documents previously provided to CWBChicago.

CWBChicago wrote two extensive reports about A &T in September 2017.

For those reports, we reviewed documents that show A & T was paid to patrol Boystown’s Halsted Street nightlife district for years. And the Lakeview East Chamber of Commerce (LVECC) paid the company $59,075 for security services between Dec. 2014 and Sept. 2016.

The Lakeview East monies were actually tax dollars that LVECC oversaw for the city. 

Three months after our report ran, IDFPR formally notified the Walsh siblings that the state was prepared to issue a cease and desist order against A & T. 

In documents secured by CWBChicago, regulators alleged that the Walshes did not hold private security contractor licenses and their company was not a licensed security contractor agency. Regulators also specifically alleged that A & T received compensation from LVECC for security services.

The state reached an agreement with Amanda Walsh in which she was reprimanded, ordered to stop operating an unlicensed security company, and ordered to pay a $5,000 fine, according to IDFPR records.

Her brother also reached a deal with the state. His license to work as an unarmed security guard was placed on probation for two years and he was fined $5,000. The state agreed to issue a private security contractor license to him, but it will be in a probationary status until April 2021, records show.

The state involuntarily dissolved A & T in April 2018, according to secretary of state data.

About CWBChicago 6770 Articles
CWBChicago was created in 2013 by five residents of Wrigleyville and Boystown who had grown disheartened with inaccurate information that was being provided at local Community Policing (CAPS) meetings. Our coverage area has expanded since then to cover Lincoln Park, River North, The Loop, Uptown, and other North Side Areas. But our mission remains unchanged: To provide original public safety reporting with better context and greater detail than mainstream media outlets. Our editorial email address is news@cwbchicago.com