The recent resolution of a 21-year-old lawsuit has prompted the powers-that-be in Minnesota to press “pause” on the Vikings stadium deal.
According to Richard Meryhew of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the Minnesota Sports Facility Authority has opted to delay signing the final paperwork pending an independent review by an outside firm.
And it’s more than one final look at the stadium deal; it’s an examination at Vikings owner Zygi Wilf’s real-estate business, the New Jersey litigation that resulted in a finding of civil fraud, the potential impact of the lawsuit on the private contribution to the stadium effort, and “extensive background checks.”
“We’re just double-checking everything at this point,” MSFA chairwoman Michele Kelm-Helgen said Tuesday.
Vikings V.P. of business affairs and stadium development Lester Bagley said the team will “fully cooperate,” but the frustration seems to be lingering not far beneath the surface.
“We will continue to be transparent and good partners,” Bagley said, via Bill Salisbury and Brian Murphy of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. “We would ask the stadium authority not to slow down the stadium project while it is completing its research. We have very tight timelines and delays will only increase the cost for everyone.”
In theory, it could decrease the cost for everyone. That’s because, in theory, it could derail the project.
At this point, the chances of that happening remain unlikely. But for something that wasn’t even on the radar screen 10 days ago, it’s a potential threat to the building on which groundbreaking is due to happen in a matter of weeks.