A private security firm that employs the “bodyguard” of Cicero Town President Larry Dominick has been awarded two contracts from agencies where Dominick wields significant influence.
Gamma Team Security Inc. obtained what appear to be no-bid contracts last summer with the Clyde Park District and Cicero Public School District 99, public records show.
The boards that awarded the deals are stacked with employees of Cicero’s municipal government, controlled by Dominick. One of his sons has a seat on the school board, while another is a park board trustee.
Northbrook businessman Wolf Iklov founded Gamma Team in August 2014. Iklov has no known connection to Cicero, but the Better Government Association and FOX 32 found that Dominick’s “bodyguard” has ties to the firm.
Serge Rocher is Cicero’s $72,000-a-year director of Cicero’s Community Service Officers, a roughly 40-person municipal unit that issues parking tickets, provides security and crowd control at town events, and augments the police department. Rocher also provides security for Dominick and, in an unrelated lawsuit, is described as Dominick’s “bodyguard.”
Serge Rocher | BGA photo
An attorney for Gamma Team says Rocher isn’t an owner or manager of the private security firm. He doesn’t have an official job title, either. “He’s in a sales role,” Chicago attorney Ed Williams explains. “He doesn’t do operations.”
Even so, Rocher is scheduled to attend a Las Vegas trade show later this month as a Gamma Team representative, according to a list of attendees found online.
Williams declined to comment further, and officials at the Cicero school and park agencies wouldn’t say why Gamma Team was chosen or whether Dominick had any influence in the decision to pick the firm.
Ray Hanania, a Cicero town spokesman, says Dominick “never recommended Gamma to any government agency.”
As for Rocher, Hanania says, “What he does outside is not our business.” He adds that he wouldn’t describe Rocher as Dominick’s bodyguard.
Approached at a recent Cicero town board meeting, Rocher declined to speak with a reporter. Iklov didn’t return messages.
Hanania says Gamma Team has approached Dominick about working for the town. Dominick “rejected it saying that we have a security agency now,” Hanania says.
Cicero’s contract is with Monterrey Security Consultants Inc., a Pilsen firm whose assignments include Solder Field. Hanania declined to say when Gamma Team approached Dominick and whether Rocher was part of that conversation.
Records obtained under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act show the park district board awarded Gamma Team a contract last July, a one-year deal that can be renewed annually. Gamma has been paid nearly $24,000, based on a billing rate of $20 an hour for each security guard.
District 99 board members approved Gamma Team’s deal last August.
The school district has paid the firm $21,000, records show. The company bills the system between $16 and $18 an hour for each guard.
In requesting the billing and contract records, the BGA and FOX asked both agencies for any records that would show whether the deals were part of a competitive bidding process, and officials indicated no such records exist.
In local government, competitive bidding is generally considered a best practice because it increases transparency, helps ensure money isn’t wasted and prevents unqualified companies from getting taxpayer-funded work. It’s unclear whether bidding was required in these instances.
Rocher joined Cicero as an auxiliary police officer in 2005, town records show. He was promoted to director of Community Service Officers in November 2014. In addition to his salary, he has the use of a town-owned vehicle, a 2008 Ford Explorer, Hanania confirmed.
This is just the latest instance of questionable contracts awarded by government bodies in Cicero.
The BGA previously reported that a garbage company was paid millions by Cicero taxpayers in a no-bid deal and donated big to Dominick’s campaign funds.
The BGA also found that a towing firm co-owned by relatives of Cicero Town Attorney Michael Del Galdo towed vehicles for the town government but didn’t share revenues or pay rent to use a town-owned parcel.
This story was written and reported by the Better Government Association’s Andrew Schroedter and Dane Placko of FOX 32. Schroedter can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.