The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

August 23, 2013

Official warns of hitch on Minn. Vikings stadium

(Continued)

The New Jersey judge is expected to rule soon on the damages the Wilfs will have to pay. But Bagley said again Friday the lawsuit "will have absolutely no impact" on their ability to pay their share of the stadium.

Bagley said the team has provided detailed financial information for the authority and arranged meetings involving the NFL and several banks, including U.S. Bank.

"Both the NFL and the banks have said unequivocally that the Wilfs have the financial wherewithal to finance this project," Bagley said.

But Peter Carter, the Minneapolis lawyer hired by the stadium authority to review the Wilfs' financial backgrounds, disputed that the Wilfs have been forthcoming about their finances.

"The MSFA, through our attorneys, have made multiple requests for more cooperation from the Wilfs. To date they have refused to provide us with any personal financial information that our advisers need to obtain comfort that the New Jersey court case result will not impact their ability to meet their financial obligations," Carter said in a statement released by the authority.

Bagley responded: "It's not productive to engage in this kind of back-and-forth with the MSFA. The Vikings stand behind our comments from earlier today."

The $975 million stadium project was approved by the Legislature in 2012 with a strong push from Dayton, who warned that the team could leave the state without a new building. And despite the cloud raised by the New Jersey lawsuit, both Dayton and Kelm-Helgen have said they see no way the stadium doesn't move forward.

An Associated Press review of contracts this week found millions have already been paid or committed, even before ground has been broken.

The team is entering its final season in the Metrodome, its home for more than three decades. The Vikings are planning to play two years at the University of Minnesota's on-campus stadium before its new home is ready, assuming it is constructed on schedule.

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