Vikings, GOP Chief Tussle Over Stadium Vote Timing

ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — The Minnesota Vikings stadium drive at the Capitol may have been thrown for an unexpected loss on Wednesday.

It came after an unusual email from a powerful lawmaker to every Republican in the Minnesota House. In that email, House Speaker Kurt Zellers said he wouldn’t support a special session solely for a Vikings stadium bill and he never has.

That sent a lot of stadium supporters scrambling at the Capitol, including the Vikings. Gov. Mark Dayton summoned Republican and Democratic leaders to his office Wednesday morning for an urgent and very private meeting.

GOP leaders emerged with a call for public hearings, but refused to back a special session. This latest news is throwing the stadium in jeopardy.

“The response was to our members asking what’s the plan? We don’t have a plan yet, we don’t have a bill-formed plan yet to talk about so without that, how can we have a special session?” Zellers said. “We don’t have a plan in place. In order to get to a special session we need to have a plan.”

Late Wednesday afternoon, Gov. Dayton told the media he has canceled future stadium talks, and as far as Dayton is concerned the stadium situation is “in limbo.”

“That was all up for discussion but to extend it now for another six months to the end of the regular session, which will be early May, is just going to leave us with the same basic decisions,” Dayton said. “Do we want to keep the team or not, where to locate a stadium if we do and how to pay for that not using any general fund tax revenues.”

The Vikings lease at the Metrodome expires at the end of the season and it would only get renewed if there was a plan in place to build a new stadium. If something isn’t done and relatively soon, it’s a very real possibility Zygi Wilf would look to move the team out of the state.

More from Pat Kessler
  • Rockford

    Ahhhh, the picture is becoming clear. Dayton was willing to take the heat but this guy couldn’t stand not getting in the spotlight to take credit for the uncooperative stance regarding the stadium issue. Good one Kurt.

    • Gina the Lez

      I hope the Vikes are gone by next season..The begging,threats,arrests,incarcerations,losing streaks,arrogance & all the rest will not be missed.

      • Bridge Dweller


        We don’t need criminal, law breaking blackmailing football teams or their owners! The Vikings need to go so they can blackmail people in another state, but, they won’t. They have enough money to pay off the politicians and get their stadium and the bottom line, the people will have to foot the biggest chunk of the cost.

        You go ahead and believe it will create jobs, then go check out all the homeless people hanging around your new baseball and football stadiums begging for food or digging through the garbage for discarded hot dogs. I hope you enjoy paying the $300 a ticket for the cheap seats only to go home and watch the news on how another football hero broke the law.

        I guess when the state is broke it’s more important to cut education, special needs, and other items so they can give the billionaire team owner a few more billion, when is enough, enough? How rich does one have to be? Do we all need to be homeless, starving and living in the streets before their happy?


        • Amy

          wrong WRONG WRONG….we need to keep the Vikings here. Gina and Bridge please go back to green bay.
          packers sucks.

    • Tom

      @ Rockford

      Very good point!

      • NormVan

        Or, do both sides now sit back and let Ziggy make his move. Then no one is to blame, “we tried but Ziggy left us”.

        • Nope. Never.

          “And we’ll see ya’ . . . tomorrow night.”

    • PFred

      Amen to that Deb! The stadium will create jobs. Arden Hills is the most plausible location and the Vikings don’t want a Mpls location. No matter which location you look at in Mpls, there isn’t enough parking. Another comment, Minneapolis already has a few MN major sports venues. Its time for St. Paul to get in on the action and reap some of the benefits (jobs, additional income for the area’s locatl businesses)!!! Mpls has the Twins and Timberwolves and has had the Vikings as well for a long, long time. I realize Rybek is trying to keep voters on his side, but he needs to give it up.

      • DJP

        Arden Hills is not St. Paul…it is Arden HIlls!

        • Wearejustasstupidastheyare

          It still is Ramsey County so even though it is technically in Arden Hills, St. Paul would be helping foot the bill. Let them leave because Illegal immigrants would end up with those construction jobs not American Born Citizens or those who actually took the time to become honest American Citizens. Watch this is exactly how it will go when these so called jobs come to build the stadium.

          • itzmeman

            Please chance the “We” in your handle to “I” please.

          • itzmeman

            Please change the “We are” in your handle to “I am” please..

        • Tailgunner

          Yeah, St. Paul is full of Illegal Aliens…

      • Jim

        Create jobs? No.

        When you take money out of sectors of the economy and give it to Zygi for his billion dollar stadium, those sectors become depressed, those tax revenues are lost, those jobs are lost.

        This is a net LOSS for the economy.

        Only a politician will tell you something is good for you while he takes your money.

        Only a fool believes him.

        • It's old, Walter, it's really an old tune.

          Walter, Walter, Walter. I am personally ready to stuff that sock in your mouth. Your constant repetition is hurting “our” cause. You really need to come up with a new thought, or at least a new way of peddling your old thought. You’ve begun to look like a buffoon here, like a relative of the governor or something. We don’t want to give any money to Zygi, we get that and agree with it, just please find a different way of saying it.

          • Walter

            Don’t be a tool.

  • House Speaker Balks At Stadium Special Session « CBS Minnesota

    […] [WCCO] Share this No comments // […]

  • zee the reporter

    House Speaker Kurt Zellers has to go!!

    • zippy

      So do you.

      • PLATOON

        Coward is now spelled K-U-R-T- Z-E-L-L-E-R-S.

  • Greg

    All of these politicians are idiots we will vote them out next time they are up for reelection. This state has been in financial turmoil for some time now letting the Vikes leave makes us a 2nd rate state with financial turmoil.

  • Rhys Becker

    Keep the vikings get rid of the lame duck politicians

    • just sayin

      Agreed and I am a republican.

  • Tony Benjamin

    is this how republicans are everywhere???? these guys don’t give a rip about anything. Just more “do nothing republicans” just like in the US congress

  • Doug

    Funny how we say NO now for LESS, and Yes later for MORE! What backward thinking.

    Headlines Day of VIkings Leaving: “VIKINGS BOLT FOR LA!
    Headlines Day after Vikings Leave: “GOP and Dem Leaders Promises Minnesotan’s to lure team back to Minnesota”

    • Pfred

      Which will cost them more in the long run!! Idiots!

      • The Fan

        It’s not only the politicians. It’s the people who say I don’t want to pay a tax to support billionaires. What they fail to see is that the state will have access to the site most of the time and will profit from various events. As far as the tax goes you can either pay it know or pay for it when or if they leave. Do you people think that once the revenue the Vikings create now for the state is gone they are just going to say we don’t need that money NO they are going to come up with some other kind of tax to compensate for the loss of revenue from the Vikings. Wake up people! Pay now while the cost will be less or pay later when the price to bring an expansion team here will be at least double.

  • TL the alligator

    let the Vikings leave

  • Thank you Mr. Zellers

    Somebody has to stick up for the people who don’t want either a tax increase or additional gaming to pay for a new stadium. Mr. Zellers is doing that and I, for one, say “God bless him for that.”

    I’m certainly not happy with any of our politicians, at any level, but public funding for “wants, not needs” is something that shouldn’t even be open for discussion given the economic situation we have today. I’m counting on Zellers and Koch to hold the line on that and if Zygi refuses to find his own financing, so be it.

    I just hope Zellers isn’t going to try to delay this issue until after the elections next year. I don’t see how that could happen but I sure hope that’s not his intent. So, whether it’s before Thanksgiving or later in January, as long as Zygi is told “NO PUBLIC MONEY,” that’s what’s important.

    • ron

      Tell that to the construction workers, beer vendors, attendants that will remain unemployed. The hotel and resturant workers and owners that will see their business decline and possible close because people will not be coming to the metro area for the games and other events that could be held at the new stadium. Remember it is the Peoples Stadium and it will be used for more than just football games. Run properly it could generate revenue.

      • me

        And the dome already exists and can host all of those “other events” you guys keep promising.

      • Thank you Mr. Zellers

        I just did.

        And if you think the 10 games a year (that’s including pre-season games by the way) they play at home is going to make or break all that hotel, bar and restaurant business, and devastate the financial health of the beer vendors and attendants, you are living in la la land.

    • STEVE

      The money i may or may not choose to gamble with is not yours and quit trying to dictate what i can do with it!You have no trouble taking our tax dollars for the barely break even arts and theaters,how about giveing me a say on where that money goes?All our tax dollars get spent on things that we disagree on so take the good with the bad.I was out and about sunday and went to a restaurant/bar for lunch.As game time approached people began to fill the place to watch the game,wearing jerseys,and all kinds of other Vikings memorabilia that generate tax dollars both in the food/bar and memorabilia side of things.When was the last time people from all over the state gathered at their favorite local watering holes with there Joseph and the Techna Color Dreamcoat shirts on to watch it on national television because the production is in town?NEVER

  • mll

    We can barely balance the budget in this state and have repeatedly made cuts to important things like education…. but people want to increase taxes and find a way to help pay for a privately funded business. There is something extremely wrong with that and those that support public money for a new stadium should reevaluate their priorities.
    The Vikings don’t want a public referendum because they know they will lose.

    • Truth


    • d

      Why don’t they put racino on a referendum. They would have the money for a stadium and a lot more and the people would pass that overwelmingly. The reason they do not pass racino is the dems are bought and paid for by the Indian casinos and the repubs get on their moral high horse. The people overwelmingly want it, pass it.

  • john

    Actually, if we just let the Vikings leave, and pass some kind of law or something promising that we will never again build another stadium or bring in another stinking team in any sport, Minnesota can actually become a better state, instead of being stuck in the childish sports freaks world. No sports team has ever helped any state. As far as the restaurants and bars go, if they depended on sports teams, they don’t deserve to survive anyway, really bad business plan, to depend on only what, 12 days a year to carry your business???. And for the taxes, bring back good paying jobs, we will get better stable income from that then from these whiny overpaid juveniles.

    • Jan

      John, you are so right! I love your comment about childish sports freaks.

      • Mayhem

        Well, apparently a couple people got beat up alot in phys. ed class and on the playgrounds…

        There is help out there, John and Jan…you have my support.

        • Wearejustasstupidastheyare

          Well I was the bully on the play ground and I 100% agree with Jan and John.

          • atta boy

            Love it!

          • Mayhem

            Uh, huh

            and theres a reason why bullys become bullys – John and Jan just took a different route.

            There is help out there, John and Jan…and now Wearejustasstupidastheyare…you have my support….no, no, you have ALL of our support. Forgive and Forget, go on now….group hug!

          • itzmeman

            Apparently you are still calling other people names as an adult with your posting name. Are you still on the playground

            • Mayhem

              ya, so…whats your point?

              quit playing post-it police, youre well under-qualified, and stick to the topic.

      • PLATOON

        Jan,you always talk about not wanting higher taxes but your post was sent at 10:38 A.M.!!!! Maybe you wouldn’t notice the tax if you were out WORKING!!! Heck,looks to me like you don’t even pay INCOME TAX!!! I support Minnesota,the Vikings,and the stadium.

    • d

      There is a place like that. Its called Iowa. You should move there.

    • Steve

      The sports teams in this town generate far more money than any of the money pit theatres and arts do.That my friend is a fact.

    • Mike

      Actually, you’re wrong. Sports teams not only contribute by employing state taxpayers, they also are part of the fabric that make the state/Twin Cities a desireable place for people to live, businesses to locate themselves. How many major U.S. cities lack professional sports? NONE. I have a multitude of interests, including outdoor activities, theater, music, literature, and yes, sports. Do I support increasing taxes to pay for the stadium? No. Do I support a “racino” or Block E casino? You bet. The projections for profit on either of those is over $100 million a year. We could have the stadium, AND education, AND roads, AND the arts, etc.

  • Walter

    An emergency? Is someone dying?

    Oh, it’s just Zygi trying to scam the gullible weak politicians into giving him hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars.

    That is not an emergency.

    • Pfred

      He isn’t asking them to give HIM the money. He is asking them to pitch in. The communities will reap the benefits. Zygi won’t always own the VIkings either so everyone needs to get off this Zygi idea. The Vikings team will be around alot longer than Zygi will himself. THe stadium will be around alot longer than the initial cost of it will. The communities will reap the benefits far after it is paid for.

      • me

        Oh – then why are we replacing the dome – it hasn’t been “paid for” for that long … lets “reap the benefits” of what has ALREADY been paid for.

      • Wearejustasstupidastheyare

        So we build this big huge stadium like we did the Dome and than in 20 years time it will not be suitable so they want another one. Give me a break let them the players and owners build it if they want it. They make more money than I or anyone else will in a lifetime.

      • Jim

        Zygi reaps the benefits.

        The taxpayers lose their money. YOU will have less money. I will have less money.

        Do you need further clarification?

  • Rick

    I cannot beleive how few people understand that a stadium is an investment. It will bring in much more than the initial investment just like the metrodome did. Why are so many adamantly against a guaranteed earner?

    • Jason

      Because there is not a direct return on the investment, look at Green Bay, it’s publicly owned, they get a direct return on their investment and we don’t.

      I run my own business which is beneficial to the community yet I don’t receive taxpayer money to run it so you tell me why in the hell should Wilf for providing entertainment.

      You want a stadium so bad then how about we jack up the prices on tickets by $50 then that way you are directly responsible for paying for something that you want and dont have to force others to foot the bill.

    • Let Zygi have the profits ... and expense of building

      I prefer to allow Zygi to reap all the rewards for himself. MN can’t bear the cost of getting any more rewards from the Vikings. Thus, Zygi can pay for it himself – and “enjoy” all that money.

      • itzmeman

        I agree. Zygi would call a business person weak if he were to give money away with no financial return. It’s obvious that he made alot of money in business and I would argue that it wasn’t from giving money away. Let’s borrow the money to the Zygster but charge interest and late payment penalties like Zygi’s companies would. We can give him some good rates since his credit score is probably in the 700’s..

        • Mayhem

          ooohhh…good idea there itzybitzy…cause thats how it ALWAYS works….why dont you just go on ahead and facilitate the implementation of that loan to the Zygster. Let us all know how it went for you, k punkin’head?

  • Jim

    When you take money out of sectors of the economy and give it to Zygi Wilf for his billion dollar stadium, those sectors become depressed, those tax revenues are lost, those jobs are lost.

    This is a net LOSS for the economy.

    Only a scam artist will tell you something is good for you while he takes your money.

    Only a fool believes him.

    • sayeth walter

      Walter, oh Walter. Will you ever stop repeating yourself?

      You have to change more than your name and two words of your spiel if you’re going to fool everybody.

      You’re becoming very annoying you know.

      • Walter

        Well the stadium supporters keep repeating their lies about job creation and some magical benefit to the ‘community’.

        SO I repeat the truth. Annoying? Yes it is. Tell them to stop lying.

  • Tim

    They dont pay rent. They get to keep all the money from events held there. Its like we pay them to use the building.

    • Milo

      They pay taxes, according to the Minnesota Business magazine almost 200 million a year or fourty years thats 800 million.

      • orrin

        learn to read.. The article stated the Vikings made for the state 200 million for the liftime of the dome

        • Guy

          So – if the new stadium costs the public 650 million and using their past performance they expect to make 200 million over the lifetime …

          that equals a LOSS of 450 million in my math.

  • product of the media

    If the stadium is such a HUGE money maker, then it should pay for itself. No taxes needed. Ziggy should be thrilled to step up and pay for the stadium and reap all the HUGE money that will roll in.

  • Jason

    I run a business that benefits the community and I never had taxpayer help to construct my buildings, and NFL owners shouldn’t get it either. I have been a longtime fan of the Vikings but I’m sorry, every single day it’s all over the TV and papers about the stadium issue.

    I love the game, but just set a deadline, if they don’t get a deal done by that deadline then let them go wherever they choose, life will go on either way. You don’t try to hold the taxpayers of a state hostage over a pro sports franchise that makes more than enough to fund their own programs and structures.

    • Mayhem

      But you had to have taken out loans from banks, correct?

      Where do you think THAT money came from, punkin’head?

      Other banking customers perhaps?

      Uh, huh………..

      • MrB

        Jason’s just runnung a kool-aid stand, he didn’t need a loan for that :)

      • JMJ

        When you take out a loan you pay it back with interest. Mayhem go get educated please.

        • Mayhem

          hey….a genius is born

          no chit sherlock….but a $300 mil investment will create jobs, improve quality of life, pump money into the MN economy. That money would be paid back as well, in some form or another.

          By the way…did you get a vote on or invited to the approval process when your bank hands out loans you helped fund? And then who pays for that when a person defaults on that loan in the form of BANKRUPTCY???

          You have now been educated….damn democracy thing. Doesnt that just p*ss you off too?

          • Harvey

            The state’s 300 milllllion, the county 300 million. How much out of state money bring in is offset that the profiit goes to New Jersey annd wherever the players live.

  • Ven

    Folks, wake up – Kurt is on point (mand maybe him AND Dayton are actually playing their cards right) – consider this:
    1. Vikes/Zig can’t just bolt for LA – the stadium PLANS there aren’t solidified and even once one is, it will take 3-5 years to get into full swing. That’s a lot of revenue lost playing in part time stadiums with no real fan base built.
    2. L.A, like a Downtown stadium here, makes Zig ‘just a team owner’, not a landloard (which is what he is and wants). NFL teams shouldn’t be primary rev generators and Zig knows thing
    Bottom-line, the STATE has the leverage here, not the Vikes/Zig – forget all the emotioin (which is the card Zig is playing). Hold Zig’s feet to the fire, make him go year-to-year in the dome until a FAIR scenario is established.

    • Jack

      Yeap Pay more later. Sounds like a really good Idea there. Regardless of what anyone thinks,whether they are for or against, a stadium will get build with or without a team. It’s not if, but when. It’s been proven in other cities, and it will happen here. Look at Northstars = Wild, Lakers = Timberwolves, but look at other cities like Cleveland, Houston, St. Louis, Baltimore to name a few. Pay now when there is some private money or pay full price later for an empty stadium waiting for another team.

  • Kman

    This is what they said before the Doom got Built.For a Last Place Team LA might be the Right Place for them and Ziggy could you Take the Timber Pups with you your Both a Joke

  • Go zyoi, go.

    GET OUT!!!

  • Gopher Nation

    LA Vikings! Sounds good to me at least the Gophers are making progress.

  • No public money for Zygi

    Please don’t cave in and sell us out Mr. Zellers!

    We’re counting on YOU.

  • fedupinmn

    I say let em go..taxpayers are already shouldering the bill for the last stadium we built for a losing team. Now if the Vikings were coming off a superbowl win I think they would have an easier time than say a team who hasn’t had a decent quarterback in 5 years and have won only a handful of games in 2 years and have never won a superbowl….I say good riddance. Having no team is better than having a losing team year after year.



    • Two Harbors

      HEY, ITS GERSCHMIDT!!!!!!!


  • s1ck 0f 1t @ll

    Well, well, well….

    Capitalism is what has put us in this predicament boys and girls. Allowing a corporate entity to be identified as an individual, thereby giving it basic human rights has lead to swollen heads and pockets. What does this have to do with a Vikings stadium? Think about it. All the drivel about taxes and this and that and jobs. We have stood by and watched the wholesale export of our jobs, because, heck, we were told it would make our country stronger and standard of living better: read We’ll make more money for the company if we pay less in wages, which will net me and you other 12 cronies a huge bonus. And you know what? While we’re at it, we should incorporate in the Cayman Islands, ya know? Offshore, we can build shell companies and hide the money there and the US Government can’t do anything about it because, hey, they gave us rights as people! Isn’t great?!

    We are a cesspool of tolerance for lackadaisical leadership. At all levels of Government – not just the state.

    And I am in accord with what many have said here. It seems as though they are saying No just for the sake of saying no. “I stood up to the excess” one arrogant politician was overheard saying, hmph, you also stood with it is what everybody else grumbles.

    • Oh do stop bloviating, won't you?

      This is just a lot of pseudo-intellectual gibbering. The Citizens United decision (which I’m no fan of) doesn’t grant corporations “basic human rights”, and the connection you try to make between that decision, “the wholesale export of our jobs”, incorporating the Cayman Islands (what?), and the Vikings stadium discussion is incoherent.

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