Stadium chief: Vikings should be able to pay share
Published 11:25 am Thursday, September 5, 2013
MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Vikings shouldn’t have any trouble paying for their share of a new $975 million stadium, the chairwoman of the public authority managing the project said Wednesday.
Authority chairwoman Michele Kelm-Helgen revealed preliminary results of a financial review conducted after a New Jersey court ruling against team owners Zygi and Mark Wilf, which found they defrauded a partner in an unrelated development deal. The Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority met in private to discuss an ongoing due diligence review of team finances.
Kelm-Helgen said the review is likely to be finalized by next week. But she said financial and legal documents so far indicate the Vikings should be able to cover their $477 million share of the stadium.
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“Based on the information received to date, we have indications that the team will have the financial capability to move forward with the stadium project,” Kelm-Helgen said in a prepared statement following the closed meeting.
The Wilfs’ legal troubles, and the ensuing review, have ignited worry about the stadium’s construction timeline. The financial review prompted the Vikings to temporarily halt negotiations with the stadium authority over lease and development agreements, but the team released a statement Wednesday afternoon suggesting the talks could now continue.
“We will work with the authority to finalize the use and development agreements,” the team’s statement said.
Stadium planners are hoping for a groundbreaking in early November, and any delays in the schedule threaten to increase costs to taxpayers, who are covering a total of $498 million in construction costs.