Minnesota Supreme Court asked to dismiss Vikings stadium bond suit

  • Article by: JANET MOORE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 14, 2014 - 6:06 AM

Agency wants three stadium foes to post $50 million bond to cover possible damages from delay.

hide

The opening of the new Vikings stadium, going up on the site of the Metrodome, is being challenged in a suit over bond sales.

Photo: Andy King • Associated Press file art,

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Public officials guiding work on the new Minnesota Vikings stadium Monday fired back at three Minneapolis residents seeking to derail the $1 billion dollar project.

The Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority — the body in charge of stadium construction — pointedly asked the Minnesota Supreme Court to dismiss the “frivolous” suit, that led the state to abruptly halt this week’s anticipated sale of $468 million in bonds for the stadium.

Contending that even a brief delay in the bond sale could postpone the stadium’s 2016 opening date and imperil associated downtown development plans, the authority also asked the court to require the challengers to post a $49.7 million bond to cover any losses the project suffers if the suit is unsuccessful.

MSFA Chairwoman Michele Kelm-Helgen said Monday that officials had counted on the bond sale to meet $28 million in bills due at the end of this month.

Former Minneapolis mayoral candidate Douglas Mann, his wife, Linda, and one-time city school board member David Tilsen filed the lawsuit challenging the bond sale with the state’s highest court Friday. They argue that supporters muscled through the project without a citywide vote required by the Minneapolis city charter.

When told of the nearly $50 million bond request, Mann, a registered nurse and former candidate for Minneapolis mayor, replied only after a long pause. “I haven’t been served with any papers, so I won’t have any comment until then,” he said. An earlier legal challenge he filed to thwart public funding for the stadium was thrown out by a lower-court judge.

Mann said Monday that the stadium authority’s method of doing business is akin to kiting checks. “The problem is they’re spending money that they don’t have,” he charged.

But Kelm-Helgen argued Monday that the already-tight stadium construction deadline would be disastrously blown if the bonds are not issued “very soon.” Not only would the authority’s ability to pay the general contractor and construction crews with bond proceeds be imperiled, she said so would the stadium’s 2016 opening. And the developer of a $400 million mixed-use development planned for the western flank of the stadium said that project would be put at “significant risk,” as well.

The Ryan Cos. development, which is financially intertwined with the stadium project, includes two office towers for Wells Fargo & Co., up to 400 residential units, retail shops, a public park and a parking ramp on a five-block swath now owned by the Star Tribune. The ramp will be used by up to 5,000 Wells Fargo employees and stadium-goers, and will be owned by the stadium authority — which is on the hook to contribute $7.7 million from state bond proceeds by Jan. 24.

“This is a real threat to the viability of our Downtown East project,” said Rick Collins, Ryan’s vice president of development.

Another key parcel in play is the Downtown East light-rail station, which sits atop a 455-space parking garage. After a separate legal battle last fall, the authority agreed to pay the property owners $17.1 million, also with bond proceeds. That deal is expected to close Jan. 23.

Philip Jaffe, one of the transit property owners, said he’s hopeful the bond sale will go through so the sale of his land will, too. “We have a purchase agreement, and I’m optimistic [Kelm-Helgen’s] team will work it out,” he said.

Both of these parcels are needed for the authority to meet its legislative mandate to provide 2,000 parking spaces within a block of the stadium, connected by skyways or tunnel. “Without that connection, a significantly detrimental effect could arise in the stadium’s ability to attract and host major national and international events,” the authority’s motion contends. The stadium is already in the running to host the 2018 Super Bowl.

The Vikings, who declined to comment Sunday and Monday, have put up $50 million for stadium work, and about $14 million of that amount remains unspent. When asked Monday if the Wilf family that owns the team would provide further bridge funds in light of the legal challenge, Kelm-Helgen said “We haven’t had a conversation with them.”

Despite all the urgency, there’s no word on when the Supreme Court may hear the stadium case, said John Kostouros, spokesman for the State Court Administration.

Before the weekend events, state budget officials had been methodically preparing for the bond sale to ensure the lowest possible interest rates. Now the project costs could creep up, not only with the potential for higher interest rates, but also added administrative and legal costs, officials said.

“Ultimately, the cost of financing the stadium will be more expensive because we are not in the market in a timely manner,” said Minnesota Management & Budget Commissioner Jim Scho­walter. “We are taking on the challenge of creating a lot more legal and administrative time. That is not the message we want to be sending to the market.”

On Friday, Schowalter had been preparing to fly to New York to oversee the bond sale early this week. After numerous consultations with legal counsel, Schowalter canceled the sale Saturday afternoon and stayed in Minnesota.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

San Francisco - M. Bumgarner 7:07 PM
Pittsburgh - E. Volquez
Minnesota 10/2/14 7:25 PM
Green Bay
Buffalo 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Chicago 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Cleveland 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
St. Louis 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Atlanta 10/5/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Tampa Bay 10/5/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Houston 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Dallas
Baltimore 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Pittsburgh 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Arizona 10/5/14 3:05 PM
Denver
Kansas City 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
NY Jets 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Diego
Cincinnati 10/5/14 7:30 PM
New England
Seattle 10/6/14 7:30 PM
Washington
Washington 6:00 PM
Buffalo
Carolina 6:00 PM
Columbus
Pittsburgh 6:30 PM
Detroit
Montreal 7:30 PM
Chicago
Arizona 8:00 PM
Edmonton
Fla Atlantic 10/2/14 6:00 PM
FIU
UCF 10/2/14 6:00 PM
Houston
Arizona 10/2/14 9:30 PM
(2) Oregon
Louisville 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Syracuse
San Diego St 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Fresno State
Utah State 10/3/14 9:15 PM
(18) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(12) Miss State
Ball State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Army
Iowa State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(21) Oklahoma State
Marshall 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Old Dominion
Southern Miss 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Middle Tennessee
(20) Ohio State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Maryland
Purdue 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Florida 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
SMU 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(22) East Carolina
Virginia Tech 10/4/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Eastern Mich 10/4/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Texas 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Indiana
Massachusetts 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Tulsa 10/4/14 2:00 PM
Colorado State
New Mexico 10/4/14 2:30 PM
TX-San Antonio
(3) Alabama 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(11) Ole Miss
(14) Stanford 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(9) Notre Dame
(17) Wisconsin 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Navy 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
(7) Baylor 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Texas
(4) Oklahoma 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(25) TCU
Wake Forest 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
NC State 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Clemson
Buffalo 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Bowling Green
Ohio U 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Central Mich
Oregon State 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Colorado
Vanderbilt 10/4/14 3:00 PM
(13) Georgia
Kansas 10/4/14 3:00 PM
West Virginia
Kent State 10/4/14 4:00 PM
Northern Ill
South Alabama 10/4/14 5:00 PM
Appalachian St
Texas-El Paso 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
(15) LSU 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(5) Auburn
UAB 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Ky
Texas Tech 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(23) Kansas State
Michigan 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rutgers
Hawaii 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rice
Toledo 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Mich
ULM 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Georgia State 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
Idaho 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Texas State
Memphis 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Arizona State 10/4/14 6:30 PM
(16) USC
So Carolina 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Kentucky
Pittsburgh 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Virginia
Miami-Florida 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Georgia Tech
(19) Nebraska 10/4/14 7:00 PM
(10) Michigan State
UNLV 10/4/14 7:00 PM
San Jose St
Ga Southern 10/4/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Utah 10/4/14 9:30 PM
(8) UCLA
Boise State 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Winnipeg 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Edmonton 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
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 pm
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit Noon
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo Noon
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay Noon
Nov 2 - vs. Washington Noon
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago Noon
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay Noon
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina Noon
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets Noon
Dec 14 - at Detroit Noon
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How will the Vikings do against Atlanta?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close