When Jon Solomon forwarded a news item with the headline, “Mentally Ill Tricked Into Security Jobs At Football Games”, my first reaction was, how could the men behind the inspiring 7″ “Gacy’s Place” fall for such a ruse?
Alas, it isn’t that kind of story. From Atlanta’s WSB.
Officials at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, University of Georgia and Auburn University say they plan to investigate a newspaper report that mentally ill residents of a Columbus facility were used as security staff at college and professional football games.
The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer reported Tuesday that for the past two years residents of Greater Grace Community Center were among the personnel conducting security checks of fans at home football games for Georgia, Auburn and the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons.
The mental health facility — a residential center that operated in a Depression-era prison — was shut down Feb. 1 for violating city building codes.
The workers were part of a Contemporary Services Corp. security crew whose work ranged from bag checks to on-field security. The California-based company provides security support services at major sporting arenas throughout the country.
Two of the former residents, Richard Berg and Margarete Church, told the Ledger-Enquirer that they were working the games for Greater Grace Baptist Church, which is affiliated with the center, and the Rev. Robert Upshaw, who pastors the church and operated the center.
Berg, 32, said he has been diagnosed with multiple mental illnesses including anti-social personality disorder, bipolar disorder and homicidal tendencies. He said Upshaw promised him $30 per game to go to the sporting events, but he never got the promised money. Berg said Upshaw would deduct $10 for gas to get to the event, another $10 for a meal ticket and dock an hour’s pay if he went to the restroom while working.
There is no truth to the rumor, by the way, that Berg was also promised $10 to serve as Jim Mora Jr.’s offensive coordinator.