Vikings, stadium authority make progress on Wilf audit
August 28, 2013 — 2:06pm
Attorneys for the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority have made "substantial progress" over the past 24 hours on a deeper background check into the finances of Vikings owners Mark and Zygi Wilf.
Authority chairwoman Michele Kelm-Helgen said Wednesday that representatives for the team and the Wilfs turned over a "substantial amount of information" Tuesday dealing directly with the Wilfs' financial interests, data that is needed to complete the audit quickly and ensure that construction of the team's $975 million downtown Minneapolis stadium stays on track.
"There still is more work to be done, but it's definitely moving forward," she said.
Authority attorneys had requested the information as part of a more thorough financial and legal background check of the team owners following a New Jersey judge's ruling this month that they had defrauded business partners in a real estate deal there.
Gaining access to the records became an issue last week when the authority attorney leading the probe said that the Wilfs and the team had not responded to repeated requests for the personal financial information.
The authority is conducting the review to make sure the Wilfs can finance their portion of the stadium, which will serve as the team's new home beginning in 2016. The judge in New Jersey is expected to award compensatory and punitive damages, which could be substantial, in coming weeks.
The Vikings, meanwhile, have said they will not resume negotiations on lease and development agreements that must be approved before construction begins until the due diligence work is complete.
Kelm-Helgen has said that the team's stance could delay construction by at least one month.
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Minnesota Vikings owners Mark and Zygi Wilf have more than enough money to pay for their share of their team's new stadium, even if a New Jersey judge orders them to pay hefty punitive damages in a bitter real estate case, a top stadium official said Friday.
Vikings officials have agreed to provide analysts with more financial information on team owners Mark and Zygi Wilf, but fears continue to grow that construction of the new football stadium in downtown Minneapolis is falling behind schedule.