BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — A security firm subcontracted by the New York City-based DocGo to provide services to Erie County hotels housing asylum seekers has allegedly employed over a dozen guards without appropriate state authorization and in violation of state law, New York Department of State documents show.
According to a letter from the New York Department of State obtained by News 4, an audit is ongoing to investigate Trace Assets Protection Service, a Buffalo-based security company that was hired by DocGo to protect migrants at multiple hotels in Cheektowaga and Buffalo.
While the audit is still ongoing, preliminary results outlined in the letter show that 16 people providing security lacked necessary credentials and registrations. Seven were listed as unregistered as security guards in New York State and therefore ineligible for employment. In the case of nine of them, it’s unclear whether the workers are officially associated with the company. News of the Department of State’s investigation into DocGo and its subcontractors was first reported by the New York Times.
The letter, which was sent Friday, gives Trace two business days to respond to the state and identify the steps the company will take to correct the issue. If the company does not respond or provide evidence of compliance, it could have its business license revoked by the state.
The Department of State also sent a similar letter to an Albany County-based DocGo subcontractor, Wawanda Investigations and Security Company, detailing 36 guards that are unregistered or otherwise unauthorized to provide security in New York.
DocGo responded to the letters in a statement shared with News 4 Friday night, saying it swiftly launched an investigation and that it has strict requirements in all vendor contracts that staff hold all necessary credentials.
“Our operations team has confirmed that since receiving the letter, no personnel who are not registered with the state have been deployed to work at our sites,” the company said. “Should the investigation substantiate these claims, we will take immediate corrective action, including the replacement of any security companies found in violation. We work with multiple security vendors and have a substantial network of state-registered, subcontracted resources ready to fill in at our Albany and Buffalo emergency sites as needed.”
DocGo, which pivoted from COVID-19 testing to migrant care and other medical services last year, is facing increased scrutiny from state and local leaders over its handling of the influx of asylum seekers in New York. State authorities reportedly took over a Cheektowaga police investigation into whether the company interfered with a criminal investigation of two sexual assault claims involving asylum seekers, as reported by the New York Times.
“To protect the safety and well-being of all New Yorkers, Governor Hochul ordered a State review of DocGo’s contract to provide services to asylum seekers and that review is ongoing,” a spokesperson for Gov. Kathy Hochul said.
Justin McMullen is a Western New York native who joined the News 4 team in 2023. You can read more of his work here.