CHICAGO — Minnesota Vikings owner Zygi Wilf has the financial ability to cover his share of a new $975 million football stadium even as he is facing a hefty judgment from a New Jersey civil lawsuit, according to the preliminary findings of a Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority-ordered examination.
The authority hired Dorsey & Whitney LLP and FTI Consulting to conduct the audit after a New Jersey judge found Wilf liable for fraud, breach of contract, and violations of the state's civil racketeering statutes in a two-decade old lawsuit accusing involving a real estate transaction.
Authority board chairwoman Michele Kelm-Helgen last week said the agency received the preliminary findings of the review. A final report is expected as soon as this week.
"Based on the information received to date, we have indications that the team will have the financial capability to move forward with the stadium project," Kelm-Helgen said. "The report will detail our due diligence process and provide findings to the authority."
Gov. Mark Dayton said he would withhold any decisions about moving forward with stalled stadium agreements and the sale of state appropriation-backed bonds until the final report was released. The state and city of Minneapolis are responsible for repaying $498 million of borrowing approved for the stadium by the legislature. The team is covering the remainder with about $200 million financed with a National Football League loan.
Minnesota Management and Budget spokesman John Pollard said no decisions on the timing or sizing of the initial borrowing have been made.
The team has stressed that the outcome of the lawsuit won't affect its contribution to the stadium.