The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

September 23, 2013

Vikings owners face $84.5M fine in N.J. case

ST. PAUL — A judge in New Jersey on Monday ordered Minnesota Vikings owners Zygi and Mark Wilf and their cousin Leonard Wilf to pay $84.5 million to two former business partners who she previously ruled they had defrauded in a 1980s real estate deal.

The ruling from Superior Court Judge Deanne Wilson covered compensatory and punitive damages to plaintiffs Josef Halpern and Ada Reichmann. It also includes a redistribution of real estate profits dating to the lawsuit's initial filing, in 1992. Attorneys for the Wilfs promised an appeal.

Wilson ruled last month that the Wilfs had committed fraud, breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty, and violated the state's civil racketeering laws. In a stinging rebuke, Wilson said then that Zygi Wilf demonstrated "bad faith and evil motive" in his trial testimony.

"We believe this decision will not stand on appeal," said Peter Harvey, an attorney for the Wilfs. He, along with Vikings spokesman Lester Bagley, once again vowed the legal troubles would have no bearing on the Wilfs' ability to meet the Vikings' $477 million commitment on the $1 billion football stadium planned for downtown Minneapolis.

Zygi Wilf leads an ownership group, which includes Mark Wilf, that bought the Vikings in 2005 for $600 million.

Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton pushed hard for taxpayer funding of the stadium and often stood with the Wilfs at news conferences. But after Wilson's first ruling, Dayton said the lawsuit highlighted business practices by the Wilfs that "are far from the legal standards for doing business in Minnesota."

The Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority, which is supervising the stadium project, quickly launched a review of the Wilfs' finances and legal troubles, to ensure they could still meet the Vikings' $477 million commitment to the nearly $1 billion stadium. Taxpayers are covering the rest.

That review wrapped up earlier this month and found the Wilfs should have no problem meeting their commitment even in the face of the heaviest possible fines. The attorney who conducted the review described the Wilfs' wealth as "significant."

Text Only | Photo Reprints
State, national news
  • Cinema verite documentarian Robert Drew dies at 90 Filmmaker Robert Drew, a pioneer of the modern documentary who in "Primary" and other movies mastered the intimate, spontaneous style known as cinema verite and schooled a generation of influential directors that included D.A. Pennebaker and Albert M

    July 30, 2014

  • Homeowner killed, another injured in Vegas crime spree LAS VEGAS — A horrific carjacking and home invasion spree ended with two people dead and a woman in critical condition. One victim, Richard Ramos, a 59-year-old father of four, “fought to his death” to protect his wife and children from their attack

    July 30, 2014

  • Officer Shooting Minnesota-9 [Duplicate] UPDATE: Suspect in Minnesota officer killing in custody WEST ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Police in Minnesota say a man wanted in the shooting death of an officer is in custody after being shot by police. St. Paul police spokesman Sgt. Paul Paulos says 39-year-old Brian Fitch Sr. got out of a minivan firing at

    July 30, 2014 4 Photos

  • Officer Shooting Minnesota-3 [Duplicate] Minnesota officer killed making traffic stop WEST ST. PAUL (AP) — A police officer in Minnesota was fatally shot Wednesday while making a traffic stop and authorities said they were searching for a suspect. Mendota Heights police officer Scott Patrick, 47, was shot about 12:20 p.m. after pulli

    July 30, 2014 2 Photos

  • Possible suspect caught in Minnesota cop shooting WEST ST. PAUL (AP) — A potential suspect in the shooting of a police officer in Minnesota has been captured. Minnesota Public Radio News reports that the officer was killed. Television news footage showed the man being pulled from his vehicle Wednes

    July 30, 2014

  • Police shooting reported in West St. Paul WEST ST. PAUL (AP) — Police are responding to the reported shooting of an officer in West St. Paul. Details weren't immediately available. Calls from The Associated Press to several police and city departments in the area weren't immediately returne

    July 30, 2014

  • Mars rover Opportunity breaks the off-world driving record Opportunity, the little rover that could, has broken a 41-year-old driving distance record that’s out of this world. The decade-old NASA Mars rover has crossed the 25-mile mark, surpassing the 24.2-mile record held by the Russian moon rover Lunokhod

    July 30, 2014

  • Minnesota officials consider high-speed rail ROCHESTER, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota officials are holding public meetings on a proposed high-speed train linking Rochester to the Twin Cities. Transportation planners from state and federal departments are evaluating possibilities for the Zip Rail pas

    July 30, 2014

  • Study finds 5 servings of produce is enough, but we're not eating it How many times will we have to be told? Apparently we haven’t reached the point when we’ll change our habits, but here goes again: Eating five servings of fruits and vegetables every day can help us live longer. That comes from researchers’ analysis

    July 30, 2014

  • GOP gov hopeful Honour wants state spending cap Tells St. Cloud Times he wants a statutory budget cap linked to population and inflation.

    July 29, 2014