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