Vikings officials threaten to delay stadium construction at taxpayer expense

Taxpayers were set to kick in at least a cool half billion for this, but the pricetag might end up being even higher.
Taxpayers were set to kick in at least a cool half billion for this, but the pricetag might end up being even higher.

Zygi Wilf's heel turn continues.

In the wake of courtroom revelations that the Vikings owner used "bad faith and evil motive" to bilk his business partners out of $51 million, the state launched an investigation into Zygi's finances to make sure there weren't similar shenanigans involved in the stadium deal approved by lawmakers last year.

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Vikings officials are apparently pissed off about that. So much so, in fact, that they're threatening to delay the start of stadium construction, with any incurring costs likely to be picked up by (who else?) taxpayers.

From the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal:

The Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority warned Friday that the new Minnesota Vikings stadium could be delayed after the Vikings broke off talks while the club owners' finances are investigated.

The due diligence investigation - launched last week after the Wilf family lost a major lawsuit - and the necessary use and development agreements between the team and authority need to be completed by Sept. 15 to hit a Nov. 7 start date, the MSFA said.

Vikings officials have put off discussions with the authority until the investigation is done. Postponing negotiations until Sept. 15 could cause other project delays.

The Star Tribune, citing comments made by Michele Kelm-Helgen, chair of the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority, reports that the latest impasse "could push all the deadlines back, possibly causing cost overruns borne by the public."

But Vikings officials, as they are wont to do, downplayed the news.

Lester Bagley, the Vikings' VP of stadium development, said, "We remain confident that the stadium project will be completed as planned and on schedule," according to the Strib report.

But he also encouraged the stadium authority to wrap up their investigation into the Wilfs' finances as soon as possible.

"The MSFA needs to be fully confident in our ability to deliver financially," Bagley said. "Right now, until their due diligence is complete, they do not have that confidence. Their inquiry is having a negative impact on negotiations."

-- Follow Aaron Rupar on Twitter at @atrupar. Got a tip? Drop him a line at [email protected]

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