League will take no action as a result of verdict against Wilfs


In the wake of the preliminary entry of a civil judgment for fraud and other related claims against Vikings owners Zygi and Mark Wilf, the NFL will take no action against them.

Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the NFL has concluded that the personal-conduct policy has not been triggered by the decision made by a New Jersey judge in a 21-year-old civil lawsuit.

The league had no comment on the situation.

Adam Schefter of ESPN, via SportsBusiness Daily, has explained that the league isn’t expected to take action because it’s a civil case, not a criminal case.  But the absence of criminal charges isn’t always an impediment.  Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger initially landed on Commissioner Roger Goodell’s radar screen via a civil lawsuit.  Indeed, Roethlisberger eventually was suspended six games — reduced to four — without ever being arrested.

Vikings spokesman Lester Bagley has characterized the situation as a “private business matter.”  Without criminal charges against seven employees (and counting) of Browns owner Jimmy Haslam’s Pilot Flying J, however, the contention that Haslam’s company shorted customers on their rebate payments would be a “private business matter.”

For the Wilfs, it never became more than that, for a variety of possible reasons.  In Haslam’s case, an informant approached the FBI.  In this case, it’s possible the authorities never were aware of the allegation that the Wilfs essentially cooked the books regarding an apartment complex in order to pay less to their partners.  It’s also possible that the authorities knew, but that prosecutors decided via the exercise of their inherently broad scope of discretion not to get involved.

Regardless, it’s highly unlikely that prosecutors would be able to proceed with charges against men who would be regarded as much bigger fish now than they were in 1992.  Though we haven’t researched the statutes of limitations that may apply to the various charges that could be pursued (that’s lawyer-talk for “I don’t know”), it would be surprising to learn that any of the available theories would be viable more than two decades later.

The caveat is that there’s a chance some of the alleged activities occurred more recently.  The article from Mike Kaszuba of the Minneapolis Star Tribune explains that “the case at one point included allegations that the Wilfs diverted money from the project for ‘football related expenses‘ that were ‘incurred by the Wilfs in connection with their ownership of the Minnesota Vikings, and other NFL related activities.'”

Though a specific date isn’t attached to that contention, the Wilfs bought the Vikings in 2005.  Which is a lot sooner for statute of limitations purposes than 1992.

27 responses to “League will take no action as a result of verdict against Wilfs

  1. Show me billionaire with no skeletons in his closet and ill show you someone whos good a covering their tracks. Not proud that the owners of my team are accused of something like this but if anyone thinks their owner is squeaky clean your kidding yourself.
    Reminds me of the Tice superbowl ticket scandal. Everyone did it but he got caught. Saints fans also could probably come up with an example or two

  2. I wouldn’t go up against the goodfellas either. You think Goodell wants to end up like Fredo?

  3. Chiefs and Seahawks owners are squeeky clean, honorable, ethical, geniuses, and have assembled teams that will dominate the league for a decade

  4. Just another day in Rogers NFL… Persecute the players for smoking weed and let the billionaires do what they want because they are Rogers’s boss.

  5. They are lucky the Vikings are not in the NFC east because Mara would be taking some of their salary cap.

  6. I love that owners are allowed to get away with fraud because it’s a “private business matter”, but players get fined for having their socks to low or suspended without ever being arrested.

    The whole point of the personal conduct policy is to prevent peoples actions away from the field from deterring from the NFL’s public image. Now you have not one, but two owners involved in fraud cases, one of them has already been found guilty, and no one gets penalized… in fact just the opposite, Goodell has come out in public support of Haslam….

    If you think that having billionaire owners commiting fraud left and right isn’t bad for the image of the league, then we need a new commissioner.

  7. Packers issue worthless stock for $250.
    Wilfs issue worthless partnership contracts for $millions.

  8. ah civil lawsuits, when you can’t prove they did anything criminally wrong you find a judge to believe your butthurt story and have sympathy on you. Meanwhile lawyers get rich, and reputations get destroyed.

  9. “Name me Zygi will you!!!! Because I have a stupid name I will become a modern day Robin Hood and rob from the rich and give to……well, me!”

  10. Iknoweverything says: Aug 7, 2013 2:28 PM

    Chiefs and Seahawks owners are squeeky clean, honorable, ethical, geniuses, and have assembled teams that will dominate the league for a decade


    Wait, wait wait….

    Did you just say the owner of the Seahawks is squeeky clean?

    Do you not know how he made his fortune? It was through a little company called Microsoft, where he was a co-founder with Bill Gates. And as I seem to remember, they were accused of stealing the graphical operating system, for Windows from Steve Jobs over at Apple.

  11. I have this weird feeling all the league owners have secret pictures of Goodell doing something very bad. It’s like every owner is Goldman Sachs.

  12. This is shameful for the wilds If you’re going to be in business you do it right or don’t do it all. What a stupid answer by Lester Bagley, it’s private business… He’s a tool. And the wilds are laughing in that photo for taking the city Minneapolis And Minnesota taxpayers for a ride. While they laugh all the way to the bank!

  13. Further proof that Goodell favors the Vikings. I would have banned the Wilfs from the NFL & forced them to sell the team to someone who would move them to Los Angeles where they belong.

  14. Carl Gerbschmidt says: Aug 7, 2013 2:15 PM

    I wouldn’t go up against the goodfellas either. You think Goodell wants to end up like Fredo?


    Finally something worthy coming from Carl! Kudos to you!

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