You’d be hard pressed to throw a beer can in the Harlem End without beaning someone who’s had run-ins with Monterrey Security. The private security contractor, founded by a former Chicago police officer, has been on many a Fire fan’s shit list for questionable and inconsistent enforcement of stadium safety regulations. They came under fire from Harlem End regulars last fall after ejecting a fan for setting off a smoke bomb. Outside of Toyota Park, they’ve faced scrutiny from other clients following the revocation of their operating license in the State of New York and the termination of their contract with the Minnesota Vikings.
Now, Monterrey Security are under yet more pressure and may lose one of their biggest clients.
The Chicago Sun-Times reported last week that SMG, the company that operates Soldier Field, is currently working with an outside auditor to investigate Monterrey. The audit comes after allegations that some of the misconduct that occurred at US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis also surfaced at Soldier Field.
The CST reports that Monterrey has spent the past few months negotiating with BDO USA LLP, the outside firm hired to conduct the audit, over the scope of the investigation and the wording of a possible non-disclosure agreement. Those negotiations have apparently not been favoring Monterrey, and the security company is looking to gain leverage any way it can.
That means leaning on political connections at City Hall. Monterrey has hired Becky Carroll, a veteran Democratic Party operative with strong ties to Mayor Rahm Emanuel and members of the City Council, to run their PR blitz ahead of BDO’s audit. In one of her first acts on the job, Carroll released a statement calling the audit a witch hunt.
“As we have grown from a boutique security firm to one on a national scale as the largest such minority-owned firm in this industry, we have become used to threats and tactics used by others to disparage our record,” the statement read. “Billion-dollar big businesses who work in this space and have ruled it for decades are threatened by our success and will do anything to shut us down. They should rest assured that we will continue to grow and be successful in spite of them. And we know the facts will prevail over their false attacks.”
Monterrey may yet survive this current test, but it will still prove to be another chip in the armor for the beleaguered contractor. Late last year, Fire President Nelson Rodriguez made it absolutely clear that the club is not involved in decisions over who runs security at
SeatGeek Stadium Toyota Park, and that Monterrey’s contract is with the Village of Bridgeview. It’s unclear what would need to happen for the Village and Mayor Steven Landek to review or even cancel their arrangement with Monterrey. But with scrutiny increasing and pressure building from so many of their clients, don’t be too surprised if a change of the guard (pun only partly intended) comes to Fire and Red Stars games sooner rather than later.
EDIT: As was pointed out by one of our volunteer fact-checkers, Becky Carroll served on the Chicago Fire’s C-suite as VP of Communications and Community Affairs from January 2009 to February 2011. Hot Time regrets the oversight.