COULD POTENTIAL CONTRACT CONFLICT WOUND ST. PAUL ARENA BID?
MN Gov. Arne Carlson "declared his confidence"
Wednesday in the proposed funding plan for a St. Paul hockey
arena and in the close association between the Minnesota
Wild and the M.A. Mortenson Co. picked to oversee
construction of the $130M arena, according to Robert
Whereatt of the Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE. But "several"
legislators said "disclosures this week are a potential
setback in St. Paul's efforts" to have the state pick up
$65M of the arena's cost. New reports showed that M.A.
Mortenson pledged $1M to become an investor in the team and
"helped land" the NHL franchise by lending the owners
$100,000 to pay the fee. The Wild "eventually rejected the
investment offer." Also, former St. Paul City Council
President Dave Thune, once an "opponent of the arena," was
hired by Mortenson while he was serving on the council. He
later voted to allow the Wild, not the city, to choose the
construction manager, which turned out to be Mortenson.
Carlson's Press Secretary, Jackie Renner, said that despite
the reports, Carlson "does not see any way in which the
public interest is not protected." Members of the MN
Senate and House began meeting yesterday to work out
differences in capital-improvement bills passed by each
body. The House version includes $65M for the arena, while
the Senate version has no arena funds (STAR TRIBUNE, 3/19).