Sta­dium se­cu­rity tes­ti­mony turns testy

Leg­is­la­tors grill U.S. Bank Sta­dium op­er­a­tor af­ter se­cu­rity com­pany fired.

Star Tribune - - MINNESOTA - By ROCHELLE OL­SON rochelle.ol­son@star­tri­bune.com

A leg­isla­tive hear­ing on se­cu­rity con­tracts at U.S. Bank Sta­dium got rough Thurs­day when the op­er­a­tor of the $1.1 bil­lion build­ing didn’t know whether se­cu­rity of­fi­cers were re­quired to have pho­to­graphs on their iden­ti­fi­ca­tion badges.

“I don’t be­lieve it has to be dis­played at all times,” Pa­trick Talty, SMG’s gen­eral man­ager at U.S. Bank Sta­dium, told the House State Govern­ment Fi­nance Com­mit­tee.

The panel was hold­ing a spe­cial hear­ing on se­cu­rity in the 14-month-old build­ing be­cause Mon­ter­rey Se­cu­rity was re­cently fired. The Chicago-based firm lost its li­cense to do busi­ness in the state the same day SMG an­nounced it was fir­ing the com­pany, based on de­fi­cient train­ing and back­ground checks, sloppy record­keep­ing, pos­si­ble over­billing and mis­lead­ing state­ments by the firm’s pres­i­dent, Juan Gay­tan.

Im­me­di­ately af­ter Talty’s an­swer, the ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the board that li­censes se­cu­rity firms, Greg Cook, was asked the same ques­tion about pho­to­graphs on badges. He leaned into the mi­cro­phone and said firmly, “It has to be dis­played at all times.”

Talty said that he didn’t know the statute. Com­mit­tee Chair­woman Sarah An­der­son, R-Ply­mouth, re­sponded, “We’ll make a copy of it for you.”

SMG, based in Penn­syl­va­nia, man­ages 239 fa­cil­i­ties in eight coun­tries.

It was a strik­ing mo­ment in a two-hour hear­ing con­vened by An­der­son to de­ter­mine how Mon­ter­rey was hired de­spite “red flags” and why sta­dium op­er­a­tors didn’t re­al­ize problems with the firm un­til they heard about them from me­dia re­ports and an in­ves­ti­ga­tion by the state li­cens­ing board.

Nei­ther she nor oth­ers came away sat­is­fied. For most of the two hours, the com­mit­tee ques­tioned Talty. Cook also made a pre­sen­ta­tion, but time ran out be­fore law­mak­ers could ques­tion Min­nesota Sports Fa­cil­i­ties Author­ity (MSFA) Chair­man Mike Ve­kich.

Four hours af­ter the hear­ing ended, SMG spokesman Denny Shields said af­ter re­view­ing the law, Talty was cor­rect and Cook was wrong.

In re­sponse to that sec­ond claim, An­der­son said Cook

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