Agreement on Vikings stadium near Metrodome imminent

Accord still would need OK of Legislature, Minneapolis council.

A deal to build a Minnesota Vikings stadium next to the Metrodome neared completion Thursday, as stadium planners worked late to put the finishing touches on an agreement among the state, the team and Minneapolis.

How to make it all work was the subject of a midday conference call involving numerous executives and business leaders, a call that reinforced talk a deal was imminent, to be announced as soon as Friday or early next week.

Even a signed deal, however, still must win the support of many legislators and Minneapolis City Council members who are reluctant to commit hundreds of millions in public funding to a sports entertainment project costing at least $900 million.

The complicated whirl of stadium politics was on full display Thursday, with conflicting reports about where things stand, a new stadium financing scenario involving casino gambling from the White Earth Tribe and a House tax committee hearing that Mayor R.T. Rybak said was a thinly disguised effort to coerce recalcitrant council members to support the stadium.

Gov. Mark Dayton, speaking on WCCO Radio, said he believed all sides were close to an agreement but not yet there.

"I'm hopeful that they'll get something resolved in the next couple days, but there is no guarantee of that," he said. "Of course, that's the beginning of the process. It has to get the support of the Minneapolis City Council. It has to get the support of the Legislature."

Rep. Morrie Lanning, chief House author of stadium legislation, agreed the Minneapolis City Council still holds the key to the project. "No one should think that, all of a sudden, it's a done deal, because it's not," he said. "This is going to have to be supported by a majority vote of the Minneapolis City Council. If they don't, it doesn't go any further."

Business leaders participating in the conference call said they had agreed to keep the discussion confidential. "It was just a status report," said Jac Sperling, the sports executive who helped land the Minnesota Wild and is working as a stadium lobbyist.

"I don't think it's a secret we've been working for over a year on this because we believe it's an important asset to the community," said Charlie Weaver, executive director of the Minnesota Business Partnership.

House tax proposal

Rep. Greg Davids, R-Preston, chairman of the House Tax Committee, said plans for the Minneapolis City Council to use convention center taxes to help pay for a Vikings stadium had nothing to do with Thursday's two-hour hearing on his proposal to end those taxes by 2020.

Rybak didn't buy it.

"Absolutely, this conversation connects to what's going on with Vikings stadiums," the mayor said.

The city has proposed using some of the taxes to help pay the city's share of a new stadium, but several council members are balking at the plan.

Davids and other legislators, mainly Republicans, say the convention center taxes are an unfair burden on consumers who don't live in Minneapolis.

"You know who pays for this? The citizens in my district, my constituents that decide to go to Minneapolis, maybe go out to a restaurant for the night," said Rep. Sarah Anderson, R-Plymouth.

Minneapolis officials said their convention business produces millions in tax dollars for the state and that eliminating the special taxes would force city residents to pay for the convention center through property taxes.

"There's not a [major] convention center like this across the country that is self-supporting that I know of," Rybak said.

White Earth weighs in

Meanwhile, the White Earth Tribe announced it's prepared to go into the casino business with the state, sharing its revenue and providing an ongoing source of money to pay for a new stadium.

The tribe wants to build what would be the state's first Twin Cities casino on non-reservation land. Such a casino near the stadium could raise as much as $300 million a year, with net revenue split evenly between the tribe and state, tribal officials said.

The casino proposal is a late entry into a crowded field of state financing options focused on electronic pulltabs at bars and restaurants.

Dayton, who prefers the electronic pulltab plan, said on WCCO that he didn't consider the White Earth proposal a good option.

"I'm more focused on things that are here now," he said. "I don't think it makes sense to link that to the stadium because other tribes are going to oppose what they proposed ... that's three to five years and they may appeal all the way to the Supreme Court."

But tribal chairwoman Erma Vizenor said White Earth's plan is the only one that could raise enough revenue for a new stadium while still preserving the spirit of the state's gaming laws.

Rep. Kent Eken, DFL-Twin Valley, said pressure was mounting to come up with a stadium solution and that the White Earth casino bill he is sponsoring with Republican state Rep. Bob Gunther of Fairmont had arrived just in time.

Vizenor said the tribe's proposal should be taken seriously.

"We have created a solution that not only would pay for the public share of the stadium, but would generate money for critical state priorities for years to come," she said.

Staff writers Rochelle Olson and Rachel E. Stassen-Berger contributed to this story. kduchschere@startribune.com • 612-673-4455 mkaszuba@startribune.com • 651-925-5045 jennifer.brooks@startribune.com • 651-925-5049

  • related content

  • Graphic: Officials working on new stadium plan

    Thursday February 16, 2012

    City, state and team officials continued working Thursday on a plan to build a new...

  • Passage of new Vikings stadium

    Sunday May 12, 2013

    Complete Star Tribune coverage of Vikings stadium proposal.

  • Ted Mondale, Chairman of the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission...

  • Robert Durant left, secretary/treasurer at White Earth , Erma Vizenor,...

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Seattle
Toronto 104 FINAL
Indiana 91
Cleveland 103 FINAL
Detroit 95
Milwaukee 109 FINAL
Miami 102
Memphis 109 FINAL
Dallas 90
Chicago 113 FINAL
Golden State 111
Washington 98 FINAL
LA Lakers 92
NY Rangers 1 FINAL
NY Islanders 4
Arizona 3 FINAL(SO)
Philadelphia 4
Winnipeg 3 FINAL
Pittsburgh 5
Washington 3 FINAL
Columbus 4
Tampa Bay 2 FINAL
Carolina 4
Dallas 2 FINAL
Montreal 3
Detroit 5 FINAL
Florida 4
Colorado 3 FINAL(OT)
Nashville 4
Buffalo 1 FINAL
Calgary 4
Minnesota 2 FINAL
Edmonton 1
Anaheim 4 FINAL
Vancouver 0
Ball State 47 FINAL
Akron 59
Northern Ill 46 FINAL
Bowling Green 56
Western Mich 71 FINAL
Buffalo 77
Ohio 40 FINAL
Eastern Mich 76
Xavier 66 FINAL
Georgetown 53
Vanderbilt 62 FINAL
Georgia 70
West Virginia 65 FINAL
Kansas State 59
Central Mich 53 FINAL
Kent State 63
Saint Josephs 48 FINAL
La Salle 53
Nebraska 44 FINAL
Michigan 58
Miami-Ohio 65 FINAL
Toledo 70
Tulsa 62 FINAL
Tulane 55
George Washington 48 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 72
Pittsburgh 67 FINAL
Virginia Tech 70
Indiana State 78 FINAL
Evansville 89
Tabor College 53 FINAL
Oral Roberts 94
Florida 52 FINAL
Alabama 50
Tennessee 64 FINAL
Arkansas 69
Texas A&M 71 FINAL
Auburn 61
Baylor 53 FINAL
Oklahoma State 64
DePaul 0 Postponed
Providence 0
Michigan State 0 Postponed
Rutgers 0
Wyoming 44 FINAL
Utah State 56
Fresno State 47 FINAL
San Diego St 58
UNLV 67 FINAL
Nevada 62
SD Christian 54 FINAL
CS-Bakersfield 79
Colorado State 78 FINAL
Boise State 82
Temple 71 FINAL
UCF 54
Campbell 42 FINAL
Presbyterian 51
Coastal Carolina 65 FINAL
High Point 73
Gardner-Webb 49 FINAL
Radford 59
UNC-Asheville 58 FINAL
Liberty 62
Winthrop 63 FINAL
Longwood 62
Columbia International 33 FINAL
Charleston Southern 74
Tulane 63 FINAL
Houston 46
(3) Baylor 89 FINAL
TCU 67
Navy 49 FINAL
American Univ 59
Valparaiso 42 FINAL
Illinois-Chicago 60
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay NoonX19-13 ot
Nov 2 - vs. Washington NoonX29-26
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago NoonX21-13
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay NoonX24-21
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina NoonX31-13
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets NoonX30-24 ot
Dec 14 - at Detroit 3:25 pmX16-14
Dec 21 - at Miami NoonX37-35
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago NoonX13-9

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Who will win the Super Bowl?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close