The NFL doesn’t plan to take action in the wake of the civil fraud verdict against Vikings owners Zygi and Mark Wilf. But Minnesota governor Mark Dayton apparently will.
According to KSTP-TV, Dayton is “deeply concerned” about a New Jersey judge’s findings of fraud committed by the Wilfs in a business transaction. The 21-year-old lawsuit arose from allegedly inaccurate financial accounting in connection with a partnership that built and maintained an apartment complex in New Jersey.
In the wake of the ruling, Dayton has urged a final review of the Vikings stadium deal to ensure that there was no fraud or other inappropriate business dealings.
“I would urge the [Stadium Authority] to have its legal counsel assure them and the people of Minnesota that all the representations made by the team and its owners are truthful and accurate,” Dayton said.
The final paperwork regarding the stadium construction has still not been signed.
The Vikings continue to characterize the situation as a “private business matter,” but it could become a very public business crisis in Minnesota, if a final review is conducted, and if anything improper is discovered.
Dayton said he wasn’t aware of the New Jersey litigation when the stadium deal was reached with the Vikings.
While we’ve got no issue with folks in Minnesota ensuring that they weren’t the victims of fraud or any other corporate chicanery, it would be unwise to use the verdict as cover to undo or sweeten a deal about which Dayton or others in government may now have remorse. Amid news that airport-based electronic gambling that was expected to raise $3 million in 2013 has resulted in $33,586 through six months, there’s a chance that the politicians made bad assumptions about the public funding mechanisms.
If so, that’s not something that can fairly be blamed on the Wilfs.That reality may not stop Dayton or other politicians from trying.