The Minnesota Ballpark Authority (MBA) voted to restrict use of its Target Field suite primarily to 501(c)(3) charities and occasionally commissioners themselves.
The MBA’s office is in Target Field, tucked among the suites down the third-base line. Attached to the offices is a suite that can seat up to 24 people. No one has used the suite for the first three of 81 home games this season as the authority discussed changes following the uproar over suite use at U.S. Bank Stadium.
Under the new policy, commissioners and staff can use the suite only with prior approval. No friends or family will be allowed into the space.
Since Target Field opened in 2010, the commissioners had been able to attend games and bring friends and family to a handful of games per season. The MBA didn’t keep track of who used the suite.
The adoption of a Target Field suite policy comes months after the Star Tribune revealed that a similar public body at U.S. Bank Stadium was using two 18-person luxury suites to entertain friends, family and political allies. The Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority (MSFA) used the top-of-the-line, main concourse suites for Minnesota Vikings games as well as concerts and soccer matches, and taxpayers picked up the tab for at least $32,000 in food during the first few months.
At Target Field, food in the suite was never paid for by taxpayers, and commissioners didn’t have access during non-baseball events.
MBA Chairwoman Margaret Anderson Kelliher said the Target Field policy is a work in progress that will likely be adjusted. For now, charities that use the suite must provide proof of their 501(c)(3) status and the name of the main contact for the organization. They do not have to provide the names of all attendees.
The MBA oversees the operation of the baseball park on behalf of the county taxpayers who own the building. In addition to four paid staff members, the MBA has a five-member volunteer board.
Voting for the policy were Paul Williams, Joan Campbell, Jim Campbell and Anderson Kelliher. Commissioner Peter Ybarra spoke in favor of the policy but couldn’t vote because he was participating via conference call.