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Wilfs say civil lawsuit has no impact on stadium

Zygi Wilf AP

The banging of a gavel in New Jersey is still reverberating in Minnesota.

Three days after a judge ruled that Vikings owners Zygi and Mark Wilf engaged in civil fraud regarding their underpayment of partners in an apartment venture, the Wilfs have issued a statement aimed at slamming the door on chatter that the decision will impact the construction of the building in which their football team will play.

“The Minnesota Vikings and the Wilf family have long appreciated Governor Mark Dayton’s support for a new stadium,” Zygi and Mark Wilf said.  “The Vikings have spoken with Governor Dayton’s representatives and the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority and have assured all parties that this civil lawsuit will have absolutely no impact on the stadium project.  The team also has kept representatives from the NFL informed and has confirmed that league financing remains on track and unaffected by the ongoing legal proceedings.  The Vikings’ guarantee of $477 million in private financing has gone through two years of review and due diligence by our public partners.  We have engaged several leading financial institutions to finance this project, and the funding is secure.  We look forward to our continued work with the MSFA to build this statewide asset on time and on budget.”

Though the precise amount of the large check the Wilfs may eventually have to write for their former partners in New Jersey isn’t known, the plaintiffs reportedly sought $51 million at trial as compensation.  Concepts like punitive damages and treble damages could put the number well over $100 million, and reimbursement for more than a generation of attorneys’ fees won’t be a small number, either.

While that kind of liability would cripple the ability of most people to finance all or part of the $477 million private contribution toward a billion-dollar stadium, people who have enough money to buy and own an NFL team typically have the resources to pay off large judgments.  In this specific case, the point is that the money to pay for the stadium remains in place, and it won’t be jeopardized by the ultimate outcome of the New Jersey case, which could still be pending on appeal when the Vikings blow the horn for the first time in their new stadium.

The statement from the Wilfs doesn’t address an issue that could, in theory, provide a far more significant impediment to the stadium construction.  Governor Mark Dayton has urged the MSFA to review the deal one last time to ensure that none of the activities that a judge concluded the Wilfs committed in New Jersey have been committed against the MSFA in connection with the negotiation of the stadium deal.

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32 Responses to “Wilfs say civil lawsuit has no impact on stadium”
  1. fletcher08 says: Aug 8, 2013 4:22 PM

    Dayton is a criminal just like all politicians. Who is he to talk?

  2. gbmickey says: Aug 8, 2013 4:22 PM

    This guy is supposed to be trustworthy now? I guess if the population voted in the whack job Ventura they are gullible enough to believe anything.

  3. bnwpnw says: Aug 8, 2013 4:23 PM

    Hm. I wonder if there was some sort of Poison Pill in that whole apartment deal.

    Sneaky bunch, those Wilfs.

  4. bastagevikes says: Aug 8, 2013 4:25 PM

    this legal nonsense is crazy, those people would havent made 50 million at that complex, people in this country always want to sue people for alot more than their investment was, if the wilfs held back money, pay them the investment money back and whatever other income they were deprived of and let it go, another case with ridiculous cash tied to it, id like to see how those lawyers came up with that money amount

  5. purpleguy says: Aug 8, 2013 4:31 PM

    The legislation has been passed into law — the deal is done. Governor Dayton is just pandering to the masses, and Green Bay Packer fans everywhere, for political gain. The Ziggster will sheepishly pay off his judgment and the Wilfs and the Vikings will move on with life.

  6. rasalghoul says: Aug 8, 2013 4:32 PM

    I live by one rule: Never trust a man that looks like the Dunkin Donut guy.

  7. stellarperformance says: Aug 8, 2013 4:47 PM

    Is this the guy that earned his big bucks by selling a few million pair of phony glasses with a built-in nose and a bushy uni-brow……like the pair he’s modeling in this photo?

  8. Rick Spielman is a Magician says: Aug 8, 2013 4:48 PM

    Most of the money the Wilfs are paying for the stadium will come from stadium revenues, so they have plenty of money to pay off this judgment without it affecting the stadium. Also, I wouldn’t consider Dayton’s grandstanding a “far more significant impediment.”

  9. thestrategyexpert says: Aug 8, 2013 4:48 PM

    Sad but true, my money is on Wilf continuing to increase his wealth and power with little to no deterrence and he will get his stadium deal. I mean the statewide asset, does Wilf even pocket a penny? He acts like he’s doing this as a favor for the people of the state of Minnesota.

  10. thejuddstir says: Aug 8, 2013 5:01 PM

    Every owner of every NFL team is crooked and shadey, they don’t get filthy rich by being honest Mother Theresa’s. Even a publicly owned team like the Packers understands this, selling worthless paper to fans for tens of millions of dollars.

  11. tombradysponytail says: Aug 8, 2013 5:13 PM

    Zygi then added:

    “Some day, and that day may never come, I will call upon you to do a service for me. But uh, until that day, accept my portion of the stadium as a gift…”

  12. whatjusthapped says: Aug 8, 2013 5:14 PM

    So says the guy convicted of fraud…..

  13. pillowporkers says: Aug 8, 2013 5:28 PM

    $1oo million Zygi, how do you plan to pay for the new stadium plus this lawsuit? “Straight cash homie.”

  14. Great Caesar's Ghost says: Aug 8, 2013 5:54 PM

    The plural is “Wilves.”

  15. gb4mn0 says: Aug 8, 2013 6:07 PM

    This is priceless. When I paid my $250 for Packer stock I knew what I was getting. It was my decision. Well it looks like you self-proclaimed erudite vikequeef toads who ridiculed the Pack Stockholders are the real dummies who willing got duped. If Wilf played it fast and loose in NJ he surely did the same in MN.

  16. contra74 says: Aug 8, 2013 6:24 PM

    Tell em Big Boss Zig! All these other owners are fools, there is a new Don in town. Don Wilf!

  17. filthymcnasty1 says: Aug 8, 2013 6:40 PM

    Are those hapless and tasteless fools running a football team, or a circus freak show?

  18. thegreatgabbert says: Aug 8, 2013 7:19 PM

    Ziggy Wilfs? I thought I saw Jiggly Milfs and was reading like crazy before I realized the error of my ways.

  19. denverdude7 says: Aug 8, 2013 8:30 PM

    The new NFL norm…

    Wilf, Haslam and surely more to follow.

  20. stellarperformance says: Aug 8, 2013 8:36 PM

    thejuddstir says:
    Aug 8, 2013 5:01 PM
    Every owner of every NFL team is crooked and shadey, they don’t get filthy rich by being honest Mother Theresa’s. Even a publicly owned team like the Packers understands this, selling worthless paper to fans for tens of millions of dollars.
    ////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    $73,000,000.00. Pure genius. Too bad your $200.00 Randy Moss jersey doesn’t look so smart hanging on the wall…..like the stock does.

  21. dcviking says: Aug 8, 2013 9:15 PM

    The stock, like anything else — and I mean anything, probably looks great on the walls of Green Bay fans given the family pictures they are hung next to.

  22. tokyosandblaster says: Aug 8, 2013 9:23 PM

    I just have to say that while all the Packers articles are about what the players are doing, how awesome they are, and a few injuries here or there, it’s HILARIOUS that all the vikings articles are about the jack wagon owner, guilty of fraud. Of course, there are a couple of silly “Greg Jennings thinks having a winning mentality is stupid” and “The Vikings best (although declining) defender has an ankle injury” peppered in there…. but still…

    Man, you guys are pitiful.

  23. buzzkill12 says: Aug 8, 2013 11:14 PM

    you know I’m a great packer fan. I treat all other fans well and have respect for everyone. I too was. Greg Jennings Fan…my son and I both wear his jersey. I have been so bothered by this I thought about putting it on ebay or just sending it to him. just makes me mad that he has such angst against a team who offered him more money early but he turned down. go get some old spice greg your starting to stink up the place…and look a little bit luke pervy harvin

  24. sevensixtwonato says: Aug 8, 2013 11:36 PM

    A 200 dollar Moss Jersey would not, but my AD Jersey sure does. You know that guy that dropped over 400 regular season yards on your squad. I will have enjoy watching him run over your declining team this year once again. Have fun at 8-8 with your qb running for his life.

  25. filthymcnasty1 says: Aug 9, 2013 6:14 AM

    You would think that with all Zygi’s cheating, his hapless and tasteless team would have won something by now.

    But Rick Speilman is the mother of all incompetence, and recently gave birth to a 3-13 season.

  26. icecubeusedtobeangry says: Aug 9, 2013 11:36 AM

    I recall your GM presiding over a 4-12 season a number of years back. Those in glass houses….

  27. icecubeusedtobeangry says: Aug 9, 2013 11:42 AM

    Also, Speilman was not promoted to GM until Jan of 2012, I believe at the very end of the three and thirteen season. Not trying to feed the troll, but just throwing it out there.

  28. purplehaze28 says: Aug 9, 2013 1:01 PM

    He’s the coolest owner!
    Now he has street-cred.

  29. purplehaze28 says: Aug 9, 2013 1:05 PM

    This dude is starting to remind me of Walter White!

  30. 7ransponder says: Aug 9, 2013 1:19 PM

    Using “tasteless” to describe a football team makes about as much sense as using “sober” to describe a Packer fan.

  31. filthymcnasty1 says: Aug 9, 2013 5:20 PM

    Does anyone else think that Zygi looks a little like Mr. Potatohead?

  32. stellarperformance says: Aug 9, 2013 7:18 PM

    7ransponder says:
    Aug 9, 2013 1:19 PM
    Using “tasteless” to describe a football team makes about as much sense as using “sober” to describe a Packer fan.
    ////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    The reason Lambeau no longer serves alcohol late in the game is because of the visiting Viking fans. Fact.

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