The private security company set to take over patrols in Downtown Santa Monica has withdrawn from the contract after concerns were raised over an individual who is or was affiliated with the company.
Downtown Santa Monica Inc. (DTSM), the organization that oversees the area announced the collapse of the deal at their Thursday meeting, but few details were available by press time regarding the specifics of the decision.
Earlier this year, the City Council unanimously voted to approve a proposal from the DTSM board to replace its existing community ambassador program with Covered 6 to provide extra security and community services within the downtown area.
The private security company has worked on security projects all over the world and has its own training facility in Moorpark, just north of Thousand Oaks. It employs many ex-law enforcement officers and former members of the armed services. Moreover, it has also already operated in the city of Beverly Hills for some time.
The estimated cost to fund the one year pilot program was about $1.7 million and that comes from two different sources, reassigning an existing budget that was previously used to pay for the Downtown Ambassador program and some supplementary money from the DTSM budget.
Contract negotiations were underway to finalize the start date for new patrols but an email was sent to City of Santa Monica officials at about 10:20 p.m. on Wednesday night asking if Covered 6 was the right company to work in Santa Monica.
According to the email, an individual named Bryce Eddy is associated with Covered 6 in some way. The email does not say what role Eddy plays in the company but includes links to multiple YouTube videos where Eddy is named as affiliated with the company and pictures of him at their facility. It also includes links to statements made by Eddy that the email describes as homophobic.
On Thursday, DTSM CEO Andrew Thomas sent an email to the DTSM Board acknowledging the email. In it Thomas said Covered 6 founder Chris Dunn has stated Eddy was not an employee of the company and there was no affiliation between the company and Eddy.
However, given the information provided in the email, Thomas said he asked for additional reassurances from Dunn.
“We have asked Covered 6 to explain these contradictions, to issue a statement in response to the concern raised, and that the statement be unequivocal in supporting a diverse, equitable, and inclusive community,” he wrote.
DTSM held its regular board meeting on Thursday night and at that time, Thomas announced Covered 6 has exercised an option to withdraw from the contract. He made no other statements regarding the future of private security downtown but said the company would issue its own statement soon.
No statement was received by the Daily Press by the time of publication.