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NOT EVERYONE IN MINNESOTA SEEMS WILD ABOUT NEW NHL FRANCHISE
Published March 23, 1998
A "political maelstrom continued to swirl" around St. Paul's bid for a $130M hockey arena, as arena "protagonists" faced off with "new financing plans, veto threats, and demands for new investigations of the fledgling NHL [Wild's] operations," according to Whereatt & Brown of the Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE. On Friday, MN Gov. Arne Carlson threatened to veto a capital improvements bill "if it does not contain" the $65M earmarked for the arena, while State Senator Dean Johnson requested that the state "investigate financial arrangements" between the Wild, the city and arena construction manager M.A. Mortenson. Wild CEO Jac Sperling said Friday that while the team's ties with Mortenson were "legal," he did "acknowledge" that they "were causing damage to the city's efforts" to get state money for the arena. Sperling "reiterated" that no promises were made to "reward Mortenson for its $100,000 loan" which helped pay the team's NHL application fee (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 3/21). OTHER QUESTIONS: In St. Paul, Laszewski & Reeve wrote that a "number of questions remain" about the Wild's finances. A list of investors released "omitted three -- two from out of state and one from MN -- who refused to have their names be made public." However, Sperling said that those investors "have no other involvement in the team." The "amount of money the limited partnership controls also remains a secret" (PIONEER PRESS, 3/21). But Sperling said, "We want to be as cooperative and open as possible. We do not have anything to hide here" (PIONEER PRESS, 3/21).