A month after a report by former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge questioning the safety of a proposed NFL stadium in Inglewood became public, the city has retained a security consulting firm to assess the $1.86-billion project’s risks.
A memo from Police Chief Mark Fronterotta to Mayor James T. Butts Jr. and City Council members Tuesday detailed spending up to $70,000 for San Jose-based TAL Global to conduct a “multi-phased risk assessment” that includes “mitigation strategies.”
The memo blasted the AEG-commissioned Ridge report, which called the proposed stadium a potential safety risk and terrorist target because of its proximity to flights arriving at Los Angeles International Airport.
The Ridge report, the memo said, was “unsubstantiated” and “poorly sourced.”
“The NFL and other entities that potentially would occupy our stadium have read this risk assessment and at present, it hangs in the air, uncontested,” the memo said.
Butts didn’t immediately return requests for comment.
Chris Furlow, president of Ridge's consulting firm, Ridge Global, released a statement to The Times.
"Our report is clear, accurate and based on facts," Furlow said in the statement. "Any honest risk assessment done by the City of Inglewood should reach a similar conclusion. The tragedy that occurred in the skies over France this week - where it appears a plane was purposefully brought down by its pilot - should serve to remind us that the type of threats our report cited are all too real. Just such a scenario - insider threats to take down an aircraft - was discussed in our report, but it was brushed off as nothing more than hyperbole by city officials. With LAX so near, safety and security risk is exacerbated by that stadium’s siting whether the City of Inglewood chooses to recognize the reality or not."
The city wants TAL Global Corp. to assess the “site plan, design, environment, location and terror threat profile” that addresses “issues of location and proximity to LAX.”
No timetable was given for the the report’s completion.
The Inglewood City Council approved the contract with the firm Tuesday.
AEG, which abandoned a plan last month for an NFL stadium downtown, paid for a second report by Mark Rosenker, former head of the National Transportation Safety Board, that cited the possibility of airplane parts falling onto the Inglewood site.
That report isn’t mentioned in Tuesday’s memo.
TAL Global’s managing director for counter-terrorism and infrastructure protection is Erroll Southers, a former nominee to head the Transportation Security Administration who was once assistant chief of Homeland Security and Intelligence with the Los Angeles World Airports Police Department.