Former Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy has started his own security consulting business that apparently will work closely with a larger company whose top executive, Richard “Rick” Simon, has had ties to reputed mob figures and once was investigated in a still-unsolved missing persons case.
A former top aide to McCarthy at CPD, Robert Tracy, was also hired as a senior vice president by Simon’s firm, United Service Cos., according to a recent Trade Show Executive magazine article, which noted McCarthy’s new firm, GFM-Strategies, has formed an alliance with United.
Neither McCarthy nor Tracy returned calls or emails.
Simon is a former Chicago cop who years back moonlighted for United when it was run by his friend and mentor, Ben Stein, a mob associate and felon.
Simon was investigated by Chicago police and Cook County prosecutors after Stein’s female companion Karen Koppel went missing in 1980, according to records and interviews. Simon refused to testify before a grand jury probing the disappearance, according to a police record.
After Stein died in 1996, Simon started running United, which offers security, janitorial and trade show services around the country.
Koppel has never turned up dead or alive, and Simon has been adamant that he had nothing to do with her vanishing, and that he is an upstanding businessman who may have known reputed mob figures over the years, but is not and has never been affiliated with organized crime.
The trade publication article quoted Simon as saying, “Robert Tracy is a distinguished member of both the public law enforcement sector and the private corporate sector. His leadership, along with the ability to partner with Garry McCarthy and GFM-Strategies, gives us a significant advantage as we ramp up our next generation security at public facilities.”
McCarthy led the Chicago Police Department until late last year, when he was forced out by Mayor Rahm Emanuel amid furor over police shootings and accountability. Tracy retired from his CPD job as chief of crime control strategies earlier this year.
McCarthy has been a friend of Simon’s since arriving in Chicago following command stints in Newark and his native New York. At GFM, McCarthy “will work exclusively with United on various industry-based projects through his new private-sector venture,” according to the trade magazine. GFM’s web site indicates the firm specializes in everything from “executive protection” to “corporate safety” consulting, and even can “provide strategic direction” on “union issues.”
It’s unclear whether GFM will provide all services itself, or enlist United for some matters.
GFM was incorporated by McCarthy’s attorney-wife, according to Illinois secretary of state records and interviews. GFM’s office is located at United’s South Loop headquarters. McCarthy is listed on his LinkedIn page as CEO of GFM.
The Better Government Association discovered last year that United had done maintenance and security work at Rivers Casino in Des Plaines, prompting the Illinois gaming board to launch an investigation and the casino to fire United.
Casinos in Illinois are not supposed to have any hint of organized crime ties, and the gaming board is tasked with ensuring the integrity of gambling at the state’s casinos.
When the gaming board probe wrapped up, regulators proposed fining Rivers $2 million.
In proposing the fine – one of the largest ever for an Illinois casino – the gaming board didn’t directly take Rivers to task for hiring United. Instead, the agency slapped Rivers for the way Simon’s company was hired, allegedly in violation of certain procurement protocols.
Simon and his companies have been politically active, donating to, among others, the campaign fund of outgoing Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez. One of her predecessors oversaw the long-ago grand jury probing Koppel’s disappearance.