MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The oversight body for the Minnesota Vikings’ stadium is back at full strength after controversy surrounding its use of luxury suites sparked a leadership exodus.
Minnesota Sports Facility Authority chairwoman Michele Kelm-Helgen and executive director Ted Mondale both resigned last week. Their exit followed months of criticism about the authority giving tickets in two luxury suites to friends and family members.
The authority on Friday approved Jim Farstad to fill Mondale’s role on an interim basis. It follows Gov. Mark Dayton’s Thursday appointment of former Supreme Court Chief Justice Kathleen Blatz as interim chairwoman.
Farstad is a current technology consultant for the stadium oversight board. He’ll be paid at the same rate as Mondale, who made more than $165,000 annually.
The roles are critical as Minnesota prepares to host the 2018 Super Bowl.
Kelm-Helgen released a statement early Friday afternoon:
I accepted this assignment four and a half years ago, and today, I again chair this board’s 76th public meeting. While this process has not always been easy, or perfect, and I take full responsibility for my mistakes, I believe we have overall, done good work in the public’s interest. We delivered a fully functional, world-class stadium for the people of Minnesota on time, and on budget. This is truly an amazing facility! Today is my final meeting, but the important work of the Stadium Authority continues. I promise you, I am committed to working towards a smooth transition over the next few weeks, to help ensure its continued success.
I am convinced this transition will be successful, thanks to the exceptional staff, consultants, and board members of the Authority. Together, your knowledge and experience of the work that has gone on, and the challenges that are yet to come, will continue serve the public well; that continuity will be important. I welcome and thank our newest board member and soon-to-be Chair, Kathleen Blatz, for agreeing to take on this challenging and important role. I have worked with her this past week, and I am confident she will provide the excellent leadership needed to steady the ship, and keep the stadium operating at top performance.
Many people have committed years of work to make this stadium a reality, and a success for the people of Minnesota. I believe we all share the goal of doing whatever we can to continue that success. Many thanks to each of you, including our wonderful staff, consultants, the Minnesota Vikings, Mortenson Construction and HKS Architects for your years of support, partnership, and ongoing work on behalf of the stadium and the Minnesotans it serves. I know you will continue to do great work! It has been an honor to serve with all of you and I wish you the very best.
(© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)