CHICAGO – The Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority last week hired Dorsey & Whitney and FTI Consulting to conduct a financial review of Minnesota Vikings owner Zygi Wilf and his real estate business after a New Jersey judge found a Wilf partnership guilty of fraud in a longstanding civil case.
The judge said Wilf’s real estate business was guilty of fraud, breach of contract and violations of the state’s civil racketeering statute in connection with a real estate partnership. The court has not yet announced damages in the civil case.
The team has stressed that the outcome of the lawsuit won’t affect its contribution to the stadium. The state expects to begin issuing appropriation backed debt this year to finance the public contribution of $500 million. The team is funding $477 million with $200 million coming from a National Football League loan.
The authority which is overseeing construction of a new $975 million partially publicly funded stadium for the team has put on hold approval of various stadium development documents pending the review. Those agreements had been slated for approval at a meeting coming up Friday.
“In response to the recent New Jersey court ruling involving the Wilf family (owners of the Minnesota Vikings), the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority announced today the details of due diligence concerning the New Jersey litigation and its potential impact on their financial contribution to the new stadium,” the authority’s chairwoman Michelle Kelm Helgen said in a statement.
The authority said Dorsey attorney Peter Carter, co-chair of its securities litigation and enforcement practice, would head the group conducting the due diligence review. FTI Consulting, an international forensic accounting firm, will assist Dorsey.