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Vikings owner Zygi Wilf buying time by not cooperating with investigators

The Star Tribune reported that Wilf & Co have agreed to release more information regarding their finances. They also added that they are worried that the investigation will put the building of the new Vikings stadium behind schedule. The delay can’t entirely be blamed on the investigation. One of the attorneys, working on the investigation, had made “multiple requests” for personal financial information from Wilf & Co. The attorney tells the Star Tribune that Wilf & Co. have “refused to provide us with any personal financial information.” After a 21-year court battle, between Wilf & Co. and former New Jersey business partners, the final ruling could shed the much needed light that city officials need to complete their investigation. The final ruling could be coming any day now.

Three weeks ago, a New Jersey superior court determined that Zygi Wilf, his brother Mike and cousin Leonard, treated their business partners Ada Reichmann and her brother, Josef Halpern, unfairly 21-years-ago. The plaintiffs, sued Wilf for $51 million. Superior Court Judge Deanne Wilson ruled in the plaintiffs favor but hasn’t determined how much money they will receive. Following the verdict and at the request of Governor Mark Dayton, the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority, started an investigation into the states and city of Minneapolis‘ deal with the Vikings and Wilf. Until the investigation is completed, any further proceedings concerning the new Vikings stadium project have been stopped.

Chairwoman of the MSFA, Michele Kelm-Helgen, has also been placed under pressure by Wilf & Co. Vikings official will not negotiate leasing and other development agreements until the MSFA investigation is completed. “I’m really concerned right no that 2 1/2 years ahead of the opening, we’re already looking at potentially a one-month delay, said Kelm-Helgen. Over the weekend, Wilf & Co.’s attorneys did promise that they would provide the investigators with the paperwork that they had requested. It seems as if Wilf & Co. are trying to buy time. But, there is no reason to prolong the inevitable.

State officials are worried that Wilf & Co. will have to pay large amount to the plaintiffs in the New Jersey lawsuit that they lost. The plaintiffs sued for $51 million. Regardless of how rich you are, that is a big chunk of money for anyone. State officials think that such a large payout will result in Wilf & Co. not being able to keep up their end of the financial barging. The new Viking stadium has a price tag of a whopping $975 million. The city of Minneapolis and the state of Minnesota are responsible for paying $498 million of the stadiums construction costs. The Vikings are going to pay the remaining $477 million by taking out an NFL loan, selling the stadium naming rights, obtaining sponsorships and milking season ticket holders by charging them seat licensing fees.The problem that could possible take place is that Wilf & Co. won’t be able qualify for the NFL loan after they settle the civil case in New Jersey.

It also seems that both parties are getting frustrated with one at other. From the beginning, Wilf & Co. have refused to provide the MSFA with the proper documentation that they requested. The Vikings spokesperson, Lester Bagely, stated that they were releasing all the documents that had been requested by investigators. Lead investigator, attorney Peter Carter, said that that wasn’t true. MSFA has also requested that the Vikings or Wilf & Co. pay fir the audit, which will be a six figure amount.

“They keep telling us that everything is fine and in order. That’s good, but we need to see it. ” said Kelm-Helgen.

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