SBD/May 17, 2011/Facilities

Minnesota Business Execs Working To Shape Vikings Stadium Plans

Some of Minnesota’s “top business executives are working -- discreetly -- to shape how and where” a new Vikings stadium will be built, according to David Phelps of the Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE. They have been “talking privately to the Vikings for more than a year.” But their efforts “didn't get much attention until last week,” when former Wild Vice Chair Jac Sperling “registered as a lobbyist for the corporate coalition known as the Minnesota Competitiveness Fund.” Sources said that “eight to 10 CEOs of some of the Twin Cities largest companies have contributed $25,000 each to hire Sperling and analyze the various stadium site proposals.” The group includes General Mills Chair & CEO Ken Powell, U.S. Bancorp Chair & CEO Richard Davis and Ecolab Chair & CEO Doug Baker. The leaders of the fund insist that they “are neutral on the site location.” Davis said, "We are all about keeping the Vikings here. We don't have a favored location. When there is a plan that looks doable, we will roll out our support." Davis said that his group has “had weekly meetings with the Vikings for a year and has met with NFL officials, including Commissioner Roger Goodell.” He added that the organization has “had talks with Gov. Mark Dayton, but not local officials” (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 5/17).
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