Minnesota Vikings have asked the state of Minnesota to share in the cost of building a nearly $1 billion home for the National Football League (NFL) team.
“Earlier this month, a judge found the Wilfs (Zigy and Mark) in violation of New Jersey civil racketeering and fraud laws in an apartment development deal. In making her ruling, the judge condemned the tactics of the Wilf family as being done with ‘bad faith and evil motive,’” according to a New Jersey-Star Ledger account of a court hearing.
The court’s ruling was enough to prompt Gov. Mark Dayton to hire Peter Carter, of the Minneapolis law firm Dorsey & Whitney to look into the financial backgrounds of the Wilfs.
Dayton made the right move. He is assuming nothing by requesting the background check. However, with the state of Minnesota on the hook for $348 million and the city of Minneapolis is committed for another $150 million. Wilfs are obligated to contribute $477 million, with about $200 million coming from the NFL in the form of a loan.
While there may not be any malfeasance, Dayton is not assuming anything at this point on behalf of the state.
When one reads statements made by the New Jersey judge that found the Wilfs guilty of cheating their partners, accusing the Wilfs of “bad faith and evil motive,” one is prudent not to assume that the Wilfs are acting in good faith when dealing with the state.
Further, Dayton is acting on the part of all Minnesotans. Special interests, like the Vikings ownership, have a tendency to view everything through its prism.
If the new Vikings stadium is constructed, the value of the NFL team will be greatly enhanced. It’s safe to assume that the Wilfs are to realize huge financial gains if, and when, the new state-of-the-art facility is built.
While there is nothing inappropriate in the desire of any major sports team to increase its net worth or enrich the owners of such teams, but to do so either in “bad faith” or “evil motives” smacks of wrongdoing.
While we did not agree with the original decision to put the state of Minnesota on the line for this or any other sports facility, the decision to investigate the Wilfs is necessary in an effort to protect the taxpayers of this state.
Rich and poor
The difference between our rich and poor grows greater every year. Our distribution of wealth is getting more uneven all the time. A man can make a million and he is on every page in the morning. But it never tells you who gave up that million he got. You can’t get money without taking it from somebody.