Three members of the Minneapolis City Council racked up a $152,400 security bill for taxpayers to pay as they work to disband the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD).
Councilmembers Andrea Jenkins, Phillipe Cunningham and Alondra Cano began using publicly funded security guards some time in early June and discontinued the practice on June 29, according to Fox 9’s investigative team. The only person to approve this expenditure was City Coordinator Mark Ruff, as contracts using taxpayer money that cost less than $175,000 do not require the approval of the Council itself.
$175,000 is also the threshold for public disclosure, meaning that Minnesotans would have likely never have found out about the councilmember’s $152,000 security bill if not for investigative reporting.
All three of the individuals who received private security have advocated the abolition of the MPD.
The city says the private security details cost $4,500 per day per councilmember. That figures out to a total cost of $13,500 per day. The total cost of the councilmember’s private security is larger than the average Minnesotan’s annual salary, per data reported by Minnpost.
Fox 9 says its investigators actually obtained a copy of the contract between Aegis and the city and noted that it was signed by Eric Bergling who represented the security company. This is significant because Bergling is presently banned from holding a managerial position at a security company.
In 2018, he was prosecuted after it was discovered that the security firm he ran at the time, Entertainment Protection Group (EPG), failed to conduct background checks on 85% of its employees. This resulted in at least one convicted felon working at security at the Super Bowl in Minneapolis that year.
Bergling eventually reached a deal with the state which mandated that he not hold a managerial position at a security firm for at least a decade.
However, the president of the Minnesota Private Detective and Protective Agent Services Board says that Bergling’s current title that says he works in “special projects” exploits a loophole in this deal. The state can only regulate positions that have certain managerial titles like CEO, CFO, or Qualified Representative.