Security Contractor Under Scrutiny For Coldplay, Guns N’ Roses Billing

After Monterrey Security lost its security contract with U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis in September, findings from a report commissioned by the venue alleges billing irregularities at concerts by Coldplay and Guns N’ Roses, including duplicate employees working more than 24 hours in a day.

US Bank Stadium
Mark Vancleave/Star Tribune via AP
– US Bank Stadium

July and August concerts with Guns N’ Roses and Coldplay were named specifically.

“Monterrey has engaged in what appears to be billing (venue operator) SMG in what is at best a mistaken manner and one that is potentially fraudulent,” the report by law firm Maslon, provided in part to Pollstar, reads.

“Out of employees listed as having worked at the Guns ‘N Roses concert, 200 are employees that Monterrey has listed as ‘terminated’ on its submissions to the Board, yet they appeared on the Guns ‘N Roses event roster as having billed time,” the report states, adding that 49 Monterrey employees appeared twice and in one case three times on the event roster. It also says some duplicated employees were said to have worked more than 24 hours in a day, with one-third of the total time entries for the event coming from duplicated or terminated employees.

Monterrey has said the discrepancies were due to a software error that used a list from a previous timeframe and that no overbilling occurred.  

A spokesman for Monterrey told Pollstar, “The Maslon report is a privately financed smear job.  Moreover, Monterrey repeatedly expressed a desire to work with SMG to ensure that all billing has been appropriate and accurate. The contracts gave SMG the right to perform an audit, yet SMG never requested one.  Instead, they made reckless public accusations against the only minority-owned security firm in the NFL.”

In September, U.S. Bank Stadium GM Patrick Talty told Pollstar that its private investigation included former federal prosecutors and focused on pre-employment background checks, employment screenings and training records.

“They ignored state requirements for the private security industry up here and employed people with disqualifying criminal histories, and didn’t submit people for background checks and used ambiguous event titles as justification for doing so,” Talty added, saying the investigation was very thorough and complete.

SMG operates the publicly owned building, overseen by the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority. It entered into agreements with G4S (24-hour security of the building) and Whelan Event Services (event security, including concerts) to take over the Monterrey contract that would run into February 2019.

Following news of the Monterrey firing and Maslon report, the Minneapolis / St Paul Business Journal reported that G4S has faced overbilling accusations in the past and settled a lawsuit for $7.5 million in 2010 on allegations that it billed for services it didn’t provide.

A U.S Bank Statement to Pollstar said, “MSFA and SMG are aware of the administrative issues that G4S has had in the past in their armed services division. The issues were very localized and we are confident those issues have been overcome. U.S. Bank Stadium has hired G4S for 24/7 security, not for event or armed security.

“SMG has strengthened the audit clauses in its contracts with both G4S and Whelan to ensure more direct oversight into regulatory practices to prevent any issues similar to those with Monterrey,” the statement continued, adding “we are confident that G4S will provide world-class security services for U.S. Bank Stadium. G4S has a proven history of success in the State of Minnesota, providing services for multiple corporate facilities.”

Previously, a Monterrey memo to employees provided to Pollstar from President and CEO Juan Gaytan Jr. said, “During an investigation by SMG’s attorneys, however, it became clear they were not content to simply declare the findings untrue. They began asking questions about why we were offering so many Minnesota residents with a criminal history a second chance opportunity to work as ushers or elevator operators, among other duties.

“That’s a hallmark of Monterrey and what helped us to originally stand out from other companies bidding on the contract. It is a major reason why SMG originally chose our firm.”

In May it became public that the State of Minnesota Board of Private Detectives and Protective Agent Services had launched an investigation into Monterrey Security’s operations at U.S. Bank Stadium. Local news reports told of a felon working on-field security at Vikings games and Dakota Pipeline protestors sneaking in ropes and other gear.

A representative told Pollstar SMG is conducting a separate investigation with a forensic accounting firm to further investigate potential billing irregularities as indicated by the Maslon report

.The 66,200-capacity U.S. Bank Stadium opened in July of 2016 in time for the Minnesota Vikings’ football season and has hosted major concerts including Coldplay, Guns N’ Roses, Metallica, Luke Bryan and a Sept. 8 show by U2 that brought in a sellout crowd of 43,386 and grossed nearly $4.7 million. 

This story was updated at 11:30 PT Nov. 9.