Bills sack security firm after New York State denies it a license - The Buffalo News

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Bills sack security firm after New York State denies it a license

A Chicago-based security company recently fired from its job at Minnesota Vikings games has been fired again – this time by the Buffalo Bills.

After questions from The Buffalo News about Monterrey Security, the Bills said that the security firm no longer will provide security services for the 71,000 people who attend Bills home games at New Era Field in Orchard Park.

The Bills sent a statement to The News about the termination after learning that Monterrey Security Consultants had been turned down in its request for a license to do security work in New York State.

“The Buffalo Bills have terminated our agreement with Monterrey Security Consultants after recently learning that their application for a security guard company license was denied by the New York State Division of Licensing Services. As a result, the Buffalo Bills have engaged Buffalo Protection & Investigation to provide private security services at events held at New Era Field. Our ultimate priority is always to provide a safe and secure environment for our fans," the team said in its statement.

A team spokesman declined to comment further.

Buffalo Protection & Investigation of North Tonawanda, which has a state license and had been working as a subcontractor with Monterrey Security, has been awarded the contract, the team said. Buffalo Protection & Investigation's chief executive officer is Mona Rinaldo, according to state records. She is married to Buffalo Police Lt. Jeffrey Rinaldo.

A "letter of proposed denial" was issued Monday to Monterrey Security after its request for a license to perform security work in this state, a spokeswoman for the New York Department of State told The News.

“We have issued a letter of proposed denial," said Mercedes Padilla, public affairs officer for the Department of State. "The company has 35 days to challenge the proposed denial and request an administrative hearing.”

The license request was denied on Monday, Padilla said, but she said she had no information on why the state denied it.

Monterrey Security said in a statement that it is proud of the work it has done for the Bills and other clients. The company said it has a policy of giving "second chances" and hiring some people who have had past brushes with the law – but none with records of violence.

The denial of a New York license and the loss of the Bills' contract continues a recent streak of bad fortune for Monterrey Security. The company's contract to provide security at Vikings' games at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis was terminated last month. That termination was confirmed for The News on Wednesday by an official of the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority, which operates the Minneapolis stadium.

The authority ended its relationship with Monterrey Security after conducting an investigation into Monterrey's operations at the stadium, said spokeswoman Jennifer Hathaway.

"Monterrey Security will no longer be providing support at U.S. Bank Stadium," Hathaway said. She said two other companies have been hired to do the work.

She said the sports facilities authority begin its own probe after learning that the Minnesota State Board of Private Detective and Protective Agent Services was investigating Monterrey Security.

The authority "abruptly terminated" its contract with Monterrey Security, about 15 months into a three-year agreement, after investigators found "sloppy record keeping, as well as inadequate training and background checks," the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported Sept. 27. The newspaper also reported that the state of Minnesota decided not to renew Monterrey Security's state license after concluding that "hundreds and hundreds of individuals performing security functions were not properly trained or licensed."

State investigators also found that one of the people who worked for Monterrey Security at a game last season, standing on the football field and checking security credentials, was a convicted felon who had been sentenced to 13 months in prison for extortion. The extortion case resulted in the suicide of the extortion victim – a man who was threatened with being exposed for having an extramarital affair.

The Bills hired Monterrey Security this year to provide security at games at New Era Field, according to a source close to the situation. Because Monterrey was not yet licensed to do security work in New York, the source said, it arranged to work through a subcontractor – Buffalo Protection & Investigation.

Mona Rinaldo told a News reporter she could not comment on the situation, and she advised the reporter to speak with the Bills and Monterrey Security.

"After a national search, the Buffalo Bills selected Monterrey Security to provide security at New Era Field, knowing we were not yet licensed to perform this work in New York State. Since then, we have been in 100 percent compliance with New York State law, working with local, licensed subcontractors," Monterrey said in a statement issued to The News. "Our company has always been about second chances, about hiring people from disadvantaged communities, and about protecting the people we have been hired to serve. That means if you had a minor incident or indiscretion in your past, have a clean record since, and can pass our stringent hiring standards, we will hire you to operate an elevator or direct traffic. We never hire people with a history of violence or sexual crimes or dangerous individuals."

According to the company's website, it "provides customized protection to diverse organizations" and has "secured some of Chicago's largest public events, and protected international leaders and celebrities." Monterrey Security provides services to the Chicago Bears football team, the Chicago Fire professional soccer team and at Notre Dame University sporting events, according to its website.

The company says it employs "more than 1,600 experienced security professionals who specialize in crime prevention and public safety."

The company said its president and chief executive officer is Juan Gaytan Jr., a former Chicago Police officer. The company sent The News a copy of a letter that Gaytan sent to customers last month, saying the Minnesota situation was caused by "administrative mistakes that never compromised the safety of stadium guests." In the letter, Gaytan also said exhaustive efforts are being made to improve the company's procedures.

Despite its lack of a New York license, Monterrey officials said they have "have been in 100 percent compliance with New York State law, working with local, licensed subcontractors."

The Bills did not reveal how many private security officers work at their games. But in the past, News reporters writing about stadium security have observed dozens of private security officers working on the field, in the stands, outside the stadium and at security checkpoints where fans are checked before entering the stadium.

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