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Continued: Dayton wants Vikings to put up more equity in stadium deal

  • Article by: RICHARD MERYHEW , Star Tribune
  • Last update: September 16, 2013 - 10:55 PM

“I’m doing the best I can to try to negotiate something that protects the public as much as possible,” she said, adding that “nothing has been finalized.”

Bagley also declined to talk about the negotiations, other than to say that the seat-license issue is “one of several open issues.”

Dayton first aired concerns over seat licenses last November, after the Vikings e-mailed surveys to season-ticket holders to gauge their willingness to pay thousands of dollars more to secure the best seats. In a letter to the Wilfs at that time, he threatened to undo the deal if they insisted on passing on to fans a portion of the team’s share of the construction cost.

“This private contribution is your responsibility. Not theirs,” he wrote at the time. “I said this new stadium would be a ‘People’s Stadium,’ not a ‘Rich People’s Stadium.’ I meant it then, and I mean it now.”

Team officials said at that time, however, that they would expect those fees to be less than those charged in bigger cities, such as San Francisco and New York. “This has to fit the market,” Bagley said then.

Dayton’s letter Monday follows by three days the stadium authority’s summary of a “due diligence” audit of the Wilfs. That audit, which included a legal and financial background check of Wilf family finances, stemmed from a New Jersey judge’s ruling last month that the Wilfs had defrauded business partners in a real estate deal in that state.

After reviewing thousands of documents, including personal financial statements and the owners’ net worth, auditors and attorneys working for the stadium authority said that even in a “worst-case” scenario involving tens of millions of dollars in punitive damages, the Wilfs had the financial resources to pay for their share of construction costs.

Financial details were kept confidential, however, as required by the stadium legislation.

The judge’s decision on punitive damages is expected next week.

 

Richard Meryhew • 612-673-4425

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