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Vikings' financial report due soon

ST. PAUL -- Minnesotans should know a bit more about the Vikings' ability to pay their share of a new stadium in coming days.

However, don't expect to know how much the Wilf family is worth or learn specifics about their finances.

"We expect this report to be finalized next week and will make this public as soon as we receive it," Chairwoman Michele Kelm-Helgen of the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority said Wednesday.

The report is about whether Vikings owners Zygi and Mark Wilf were honest in their dealings with the state in negotiating a stadium deal.

While the Wilfs are responsible for raising nearly half of the $1 billion construction cost (with Minneapolis and the state kicking in the rest), it is not clear how much, if any, will come out of the owners' pockets. They have said they plan to sell seat licenses, for instance, to help with their portion of the costs.

The authority launched an investigation of the Wilfs after a New Jersey judge said in a lawsuit trial that "the bad faith and evil motive were demonstrated in the testimony of Zygi Wilf himself."

Gov. Mark Dayton called for the probe to make sure the Wilfs were up front with Minnesotans.

In a private meeting, the authority last week heard an update to the investigation, none of which was made public.

"We have almost all the information, both financial and legal, that we need to finalize the due diligence review..." Kelm-Helgen said. "However, 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."

The Vikings organization was happy with the comment.

"Our fans deserve, and we are committed to building, a state-of-the-art facility in downtown Minneapolis," a Vikings statement said. "The new $975 million stadium will bring thousands of construction and ongoing jobs, along with further economic activity from stadium attendees who will patronize restaurants, bars and retail stores both before and after events."

Groundbreaking on the stadium is planned for fall, with the first Vikings game set for 2016.

Don Davis
Don Davis has been the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau chief since 2001, covering state government and politics for two dozen newspapers in the state. Don also blogs at Capital Chatter on Areavoices.
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