Stadium authority calls on Vikings to resume negotiations

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August 23, 2013 // UPDATED 9:23 am - August 24, 2013
By: Sarah McKenzie
Sarah McKenzie

Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority Michele Kelm-Helgen urged the Vikings to return to the negotiating table Monday to ensure agreements can be finalized to keep the Vikings construction schedule on time.

The MSFA and Vikings need to finalize use and development agreements by Sept. 15 to keep pace with the construction timeline, she said. The goal is to have construction start in November so the stadium could open by July 2016.

The Vikings have told the MSFA that the team won't continue negotiations until Dorsey & Whitney's Peter W. Carter completes the due dilligence review of the finances of the Wilf family. A New Jersey court recently found the Vikings' owners guilt of fraud, breach of contract and other wrongdoing in a real estate dispute.

"The MSFA is ready to work evenings and weekends, if necessary, with the Vikings to finalize these important agreements to keep the July 2016 schedule," she said. 

When asked when the team would resume talks with the authority after Kelm-Helgen released her statement, Jeff Anderson, the team's director of corporate communications said: "The Vikings stand ready to resume discussions regarding fundamental stadium documents immediately upon the completion of the MSFA’s due diligence. When the Authority has full confidence in the ability of the Vikings and the Wilf family to uphold their stadium commitments, these documents can be finalized." 

Dorsey & Whitney's Carter issued the following statement shortly after 5 p.m.:

"The Vikings have stated that they have provided the MSFA with detailed financial information in our due diligence review. We have received no such information. The MSFA, through our attorneys, have made multiple requests for more cooperation from the Wilfs. To date they have refused to provide us with any personal financial information that our advisors need to obtain comfort that the New Jersey court case result will not impact their ability to meet their financial obligations.
We look forward to receiving the financial information from the Wilf's so that we can conduct our due diligence. The people of Minnesota deserve to know that the team can finance their part of the stadium construction budget — without delay.
A meeting with US Bank took place but Mr. Bagley was not present and the unequivocal reassurance he refers to was never provided. The Wilf’s have required us to sign a confidentiality agreement that precludes our advisors from discussing what was said."

The Vikings have pledged to pay $477 million toward the $975 million stadium. The State of Minnesota has committed to contributing $348 million to the project by issuing bonds repaid by charitable gaming, which has fallen short of projections, and money from a new cigarette tax. The City of Minneapolis is contributing $150 million.