Minnesota Gov. Dayton Wants Wilfs To Pay More On Vikings Stadium
Following an audit which showed Vikings Owners Mark and Zygi Wilf are capable of paying for their portion of the team's new stadium, Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton is "pushing to make sure the team owners pay what he considers a fair share," according to a front-page piece by Richard Meryhew of the Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE. Dayton yesterday urged the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority to "get the Wilfs to contribute 'significant equity' to the project and to limit their ability to pass hefty construction costs on to the team’s most loyal fans." Dayton wrote to MSFA Chair Michele Kelm-Helgen, “I strongly urge you to negotiate a final financial agreement, which requires the Vikings’ owners to provide a significant share of their financial contribution from their own resources, and not from Vikings fans through the sale of expensive personal seat licenses." Vikings VP/Public Affairs & Stadium Development Lester Bagley yesterday declined to discuss Dayton’s push, but said that PSL fees were "clearly 'one element of a larger agreement' reached between the team and legislators" in '12. However, Dayton in his letter "expressed concern that the Vikings’ owners could raise so much money off seat license fees and naming rights that very little of their own money would go into the project." Kelm-Helgen yesterday said that the two sides "have yet to agree on how much of the 65,000-seat stadium will be designated for licenses and what those fees will be" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 9/17). Bagley said that the PSLs are "just one issue among many being discussed as part of a complex set of negotiations over the final contracts." He added that the two sides "met last week" and yesterday, and will meet again today. Kelm-Helgen said that she is "hoping the two sides can wrap up the agreements by early next week, when the team leaves to play a game in London" (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 9/17).