Former head of Vikings stadium authority got prime seats

Published 10:06 am Monday, March 6, 2017

MINNEAPOLIS — Michelle Kelm-Helgen, the former chair of the body that runs the Minnesota Vikings’ stadium, jumped to the head of the line to buy front-row season tickets, according to a report published Sunday.

She also helped friends and family members secure nearby seats before longtime season ticket holders could claim them, the Star Tribune reported.

“I never intended to have been in the front of the line and would have waited to purchase tickets later if I had realized how early in the sales process this was,” Kelm-Helgen told the newspaper.

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Kelm-Helgen resigned under fire last month from the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority amid intense criticism of her use of two publicly owned luxury suites to entertain friends, family and Democratic Party allies. Her last day was Friday.

In response to a data request from the Star Tribune, Kelm-Helgen said that she, her friends and family occupy seats in the Medtronic Club, which was marketed as “the most exclusive and upscale” space providing the “ultimate football viewing experience.” The seats are on the 50-yard line.

The chairwoman of Minnesota House State Government Finance Committee, Sarah Anderson, R-Plymouth, who is leading the effort to overhaul the stadium oversight panel, said the revelation affirms her push to “clean house” at the MSFA.

“I’m mortified,” Anderson said. “From my perspective, I feel like this is insider trading and she got access to a perk that no one else had access to — and so did her friends.”

Fans were offered Vikings seat licenses based on where they sat in the team’s former stadium, the Metrodome. Someone who had a 50-yardline seat at the Metrodome would have had the first chance at a similar seat at U.S. Bank Stadium. The seat licenses went on sale to the general public in April 2015, and the money helped finance the $1.1 billion building. Most fans had to buy seat licenses to get the right to purchase season tickets.