Updated: 08/08/2013 3:51 PM KSTP.com By: Scott Theisen
Gov. Mark Dayton
Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton is urging an authority overseeing the new Vikings stadium to take extra precautions as it finalizes an agreement with the team's New Jersey-based owners given their legal woes back home.
In a statement Dayton's office circulated Thursday, the governor said he is "deeply concerned" by a judges' ruling against Zygi Wilf and his family in a fraud and breach of contract case. The judge's ruling found that the Wilfs violated a civil racketeering law related to an apartment development deal.
The Wilfs won approval last year for a new taxpayer-aided football stadium. The Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority is hammering out final contract details with Vikings owners before construction starts. Dayton says the authority needs assurances that representations made by the team owners are "truthful and accurate."
Gov. Dayton’s statement:
“I am deeply concerned by the Judge’s findings that the Wilf family committed fraud, breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty; violated New Jersey’s civil racketeering statute; and presented untruthful and inaccurate financial statements. Those practices are far from the legal standards for doing business in Minnesota.
The Court’s findings pertain to a case that is unrelated to the agreement negotiated last year with the Wilfs and the Vikings. However, since the Stadium Authority has not yet signed the final agreement, I would urge the Board to have its legal counsel assure them and the people of Minnesota that all of the representations made by the team and its owners are truthful and accurate.”
Statement from Zygi and Mark Wilf:
The Minnesota Vikings and the Wilf family have long appreciated Governor Mark Dayton's support for a new stadium. The Vikings have spoken with Governor Dayton's representatives and the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority and have assured all parties that this civil lawsuit will have absolutely no impact on the stadium project. The team also has kept representatives from the NFL informed and has confirmed that league financing remains on track and unaffected by the ongoing legal proceedings. The Vikings' guarantee of $477 million in private financing has gone through two years of review and due diligence by our public partners. We have engaged several leading financial institutions to finance this project, and the funding is secure. We look forward to our continued work with the MSFA to build this statewide asset on time and on budget.