Reporting Pat Kessler
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MINNEAPOLIS (AP/WCCO) — The Minnesota Vikings shouldn’t have any trouble paying for their share of a new $975 million stadium, the chairwoman of the public authority managing the project said Wednesday.
Authority chairwoman Michele Kelm-Helgen revealed preliminary results of a financial review conducted after a New Jersey court ruling against team owners Zygi and Mark Wilf, which found they defrauded a partner in an unrelated development deal. The Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority met in private to discuss an ongoing due diligence review of team finances.
Kelm-Helgen said the review is likely to be finalized by next week. But she said financial and legal documents so far indicate the Vikings should be able to cover their $477 million share of the stadium.
“They are looking at financial information to determine if they can meet their commitments,” said Michele Kelm-Helgen, chairwoman of the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority. “And at this point, given all those factors, it does look like they will have the financial wherewithall to meet their commitments.”
The Wilfs’ legal troubles, and the ensuing review, have ignited worry about the stadium’s construction timeline. The financial review prompted the Vikings to temporarily halt negotiations with the stadium authority over lease and development agreements, but the team released a statement Wednesday afternoon suggesting the talks could now continue.
“We will work with the authority to finalize the use and development agreements,” the team’s statement said.
The Sports Authority says it hopes to wrap up the review in a matter of days to avoid any delay in the stadium groundbreaking set for November.
Here’s the Vikings’ full statement:
“The Vikings are pleased that the stadium project continues to move forward. Our fans deserve – and we are committed to building – a state-of-the-art facility in downtown Minneapolis. The new $975 million stadium will bring thousands of construction and ongoing jobs, along with further economic activity from stadium attendees who will patronize restaurants, bars and retail stores both before and after events.
“We continue to believe that the stadium will be built on schedule and will open in time for the 2016 season. The team continues to work collaboratively with the Stadium Authority on the stadium project, and the Authority’s comments today are a reflection of our partnership. We will continue to address the design and construction process, and we will work with the Authority to finalize the Use and Development Agreements.”
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