Nonprofit, nonpartisan journalism. Supported by readers.


Wilf says financial disclosure ‘a serious threat to me, family’

The “threat” of transparency … Mike Kaszuba of the Strib says: “Minnesota Vikings owner Zygi Wilf, in a signed court document released Tuesday, said that making his net worth public ‘will pose a serious threat to me and my family’ and that ‘malicious individuals’ could target them for physical attack and extortion. Wilf’s most pointed comments over his net worth were released in New Jersey one day after a state Superior Court judge there said it should be made public as part of a long-running civil case. … Alan Lebensfeld, one lawyer in the case arguing for disclosure, said the Wilfs’ attorney had used a strategy in which he ‘rattles off a “parade of horribles” that is long on innuendo but short on any detail’ that shows how the family would be harmed. ‘The Wilfs,’ Lebensfeld said in court documents, ‘have a reputation as billionaires with multiple, multi-state real estate and sports holdings. They are quasi-public figures, both in Minnesota and New Jersey.’ ” Mmmm. A bit more than “quasi” I’d say.

To the surprise of almost no one … John Welbes of the PiPress reports: “Seeking to highlight the need to reduce carbon emissions, a Minnesota environmental group on Tuesday released a list of the state’s highest carbon-producing power plants. Xcel Energy’s coal-fired Sherco Plant in Becker, on the Mississippi River, is the state’s largest carbon producer, and the nation’s 21st biggest carbon-emitting plant, according to the report from Environment Minnesota Research and Policy Center. The federal Environmental Protection Agency is expected to propose new rules later this month for cutting carbon pollution from new power plants. ‘America’s dirtiest power plants are the elephant in the room when it comes to global warming,’ said Michelle Hesterberg, federal field organizer for Environment Minnesota. The state’s top five carbon-emitting power plants produce as much carbon annually as 6.1 million cars, the report said.”

Walk tall, Pipers … A WCCO-TV story says: “If you’re looking to get a degree in Minnesota, Hamline University and Carleton College should be at the top of your list, according to the latest college rankings from U.S. News & World Report. … Hamline University was ranked highest among Minnesota colleges on the list of regional universities, and earned special marks for its affordability against the quality of its education. Other schools that earned high rankings from the magazine’s list of regional universities include (in order of how high they ranked on the regional list): St. Catherine’s University, Bethel University, Augsburg College, College of St. Scholastica, and the University of Minnesota-Duluth.”

It seems kind of like a penny tip … Mila Koumpilova of the PiPress writes: “Minneapolis teachers stand to earn a $3 bonus next year. No, that’s not a typo in an agreement between the district and its teachers union that faces a vote by educators later this month. The deal would let the district tap millions of dollars for professional development through the state’s Quality Compensation, or Q-Comp, program — and get around union distaste for the idea that a bonus can spur better teaching. In an unprecedented nod to that skepticism, Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius backed the Minneapolis application for Q-Comp, Minnesota’s 8-year-old effort to overhaul how teachers get evaluated and paid. Now, St. Paul district leaders are pointing to Minneapolis as they urge their union to jointly pursue $9 million in Q-Comp dollars.”

It’d be funny if it weren’t so sad … . Catharine Richert of MPR lists “Five Myths About Obamacare That Refuse to Die”: “The Affordable Care Act has been on the books for almost three and a half years. But myths about the law persist. Many people are confused about the law because it is big and complicated, said University of Minnesota political science professor Lawrence Jacobs … But Jacobs also pointed out that people tend to be entrenched in their beliefs about the law so they aren’t necessarily trying to inform themselves in ways that would dispel myths. … 4) The ACA covers unauthorized immigrants and abortions: The Affordable Care Act doesn’t cover anything. It’s not a government insurance program. Obamacare bars unauthorized immigrants from purchasing insurance through the exchanges, and they cannot obtain Medicare or non-emergency Medicaid coverage. The law does allow them to get care at the emergency room, but that’s no different from how things already work. As for abortion coverage, the Affordable Care Act did not change the status quo. Federal funds can’t be used to cover abortions unless it is a case of rape, incest or the mother’s life is in danger. Insurance companies will retain their current ability to sell plans that cover abortions.”

Besides the hyper-partisan, there is another group that requires better information …  Tyler Gieseke of The Minnesota Daily writes: “Many Minnesotans who need health care the most are unfamiliar with how the Affordable Care Act will change their insurance, according to a University of Minnesota study published Monday. The study found that more than 60 percent of people in Minnesota’s high-risk health insurance pool are uninformed about how health care reform will affect them. ‘That’s a little bit troubling,’ said Elizabeth Lukanen, a senior research fellow who worked on the study. The high-risk insurance pool consists of people who have been denied coverage because of pre-existing health conditions. In Minnesota, they’re guaranteed coverage by the Minnesota Comprehensive Health Association, a nonprofit created by the state Legislature in 1976. But beginning in 2014, the ACA will prohibit private companies from denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions or charging them more than their lower-risk peers.”

Which kind of explains this … from Patrick Condon of the AP: “Democrats on a panel that oversees Minnesota’s new online health insurance marketplace tore into its leaders Tuesday, charging they have failed so far to adequately reach out to minority communities with high numbers of uninsured people. ‘I appreciate the work you’ve done, but you blew it,’ Sen. Jeff Hayden, DFL-Minneapolis, said to the executive director and the board chairman of MNsure, the state’s vehicle for delivering requirements of the new federal health care law. ‘You just flat out didn’t get it right, and I’ll say it again and again,’ he said. At issue in a hearing of the Legislature’s MNsure Oversight Committee was an initial round of $4 million in grants from MNsure to 30 organizations that are supposed to help uninsured and underinsured people navigate the new online marketplace and purchase coverage. A number of groups that work with minority communities, particularly African and African-American ones, were mostly left out of the first round of grants, including well-established organizations like the Minneapolis Urban League.”

On the Minnesota Orchestra beat … Graydon Royce of the Strib says: “Musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra on Tuesday said they had given management a counterproposal on a new contract. Management disagreed, calling the communication a ‘vague framework for a proposal that calls for wage increases over three years.’ ‘We confirmed the minimum level of restoration for musician compensation after they have been without salary or health care’ since the lockout began nearly a year ago, musicians’ spokesman Blois Olson said in an interview. Citing a confidentiality pact agreed to by both sides, Olson would reveal no other details, but he said the union considered the offer to be a “financially specific” proposal. That is significant because the musicians had never offered a counter-offer in their standoff with management.”

The Twins — yes, they’re still playing — released their 2014 schedule. Besides not trying to play in Minnesota until April 7, the interleague road trip in May could be fun: “The Twins will play 20 interleague games throughout the season. The home interleague schedule includes visits by the Los Angeles Dodgers (April 29 and 30, May 1), the Milwaukee Brewers (June 4 and 5), the San Diego Padres (August 5 and 6) and the Arizona Diamondbacks (Sept. 22-24). Meanwhile, the Twins will visit the San Diego Padres (May 20 and 21), the San Francisco Giants (May 23-25), the Milwaukee Brewers (June 2 and 3) and the Colorado Rockies (July 11-13).”

Comments (10)

  1. Submitted by Frank Phelan on 09/11/2013 - 06:28 am.

    Zigi Under Duress

    I should feel so threatened.

  2. Submitted by Steve Titterud on 09/11/2013 - 07:13 am.

    Wilfs: have some sympathy for us

    Let’s remember that the figure the Wilfs want to hide is in a *Stipulation* as to their net worth – a document in which they agree it is at least a certain minimum amount. It seems obvious it will not cover their real net worth, only what they will agree to for purposes of this lawsuit.

    Why would it be necessary to rely on such a stipulation to arrive at a net worth ? Why not just calculate it, based on the facts ? The Court has never gotten the true and complete facts from the Wilfs. The Wilfs have obfuscated and dithered their financial statements to that Court to such a degree that the judge has said she doesn’t believe she’s seen a SINGLE truthful and accurate financial statement. Therefore resort to a Stipulation. It’s not going to be completely accurate, but it will narrow the dispute and act as a foundation for the findings and rulings.

    I expect the Wilfs’ current appeal for sympathy will receive the wooden response it deserves, considering their own ideas of fairness and justice as reflected in their business practices. After spending decades and millions attempting to defraud their business partners, they now cry for sympathy, “Come on, this isn’t fair !”

    • Submitted by Harris Goldstein on 09/11/2013 - 09:43 am.

      The issue, as I understand, is not what the Wilfs are required to submit to the court but what the court will make public. I agree that any information provided to the court should be complete and accurate.

      While their attorney’s arguments about threat (to the Wilfs) is ridiculous, I still don’t see a need – other than punitive – for making the information public.

  3. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 09/11/2013 - 08:08 am.

    Psychology 101

    Mr. Wilf suffers from “the illusion of central position,” or the belief that everything in the universe revolves around him — a sort of Ptolemaic view of society. That the public might have legitimate interests that supersede his own either doesn’t occur to him, or it’s an idea dismissed as being unworthy of consideration.

  4. Submitted by Bill Schletzer on 09/11/2013 - 08:19 am.

    good luck with that…

    “We confirmed the minimum level of restoration for musician compensation ..”

    I would take that to mean that they propose that they resume playing at their old wages. And we’ll have to believe management that they are asking for raises if they don’t deny that comment. All this time and this is the best they could come up with?

  5. Submitted by Steven Bailey on 09/11/2013 - 08:36 am.

    Solution for Wilf

    The courts have found Mr. Wilf to be less than believable. There is an simple solution to this. if Wilf is to get public monies he must release his personal financial information, which is a rule that should apply to everyone. Wilf can always just build his own stadium, with his own financing, and protect himself from “malicious individuals”.

    • Submitted by Steve Titterud on 09/11/2013 - 09:25 am.

      Good point !

      If you want to avoid public disclosure of your financial affairs, DON’T SCREW YOUR BUSINESS PARTNERS so badly they sue you and force the facts into the open.

      The Wilfs’ claim that “we’re special, so make special rules for us”, although easy for those of us in the lumpen masses with ordinary common sense to reject, could possibly succeed on appeal.

      Welcome to your new business partners, Minnesota !!

      Let’s hope Zygi doesn’t think we got too good of a deal, what with handing him only a half billion when he could have got more.

  6. Submitted by Harris Goldstein on 09/11/2013 - 09:55 am.

    ACA myths continue because:

    a) While they have some valid criticisms, the right lack enough honest arguments. So they lie (i.e. “death panels”).

    b) People are predisposed to believe what they want to believe. They accept what they hear without any healthy skepticism, as long as it’s consistent with their beliefs.

  7. Submitted by tim johnson on 09/11/2013 - 01:17 pm.

    quit calling them myths, drop the dispelling mode

    HARRIS GOLDSTEIN wrote: that ACA myths continue because:

    a) While they have some valid criticisms, the right lack enough honest arguments. So they lie (i.e. “death panels”).

    b) People are predisposed to believe what they want to believe. They accept what they hear without any healthy skepticism, as long as it’s consistent with their beliefs.

    So I take it that because of “b.)” above, that’s how you have arrived at YOUR position on all this?
    Oh, I see: It’s only the “other side” which is predisposed to believe what they want to believe….without any health skepticism”” ??? while you objectively see the truth?
    come on:
    ; instead of such hackneyed, broad-brush attacks, cite one or two arguments from someone you disagree with, then point out why they are wrong….
    here’s a place to start: a reasoned critique from people of substantive intellect arguing what you and MPR says is inarguable….

    any fair analysis of Obamacare seems to require a conclusion that it’s so complicated that who knows what it intends or might cause or might result in… there are plenty of debates to be had… simply pronouncing the “other side” as being full of “myths” that must be “dispelled” (those poor ignorant sods, eh?) is not an argument, it’s a slogan; and a mean-spirited one.
    the use of the term “death panels” might be provocative, but it’s not a “myth” ; it’s an arguable term to use for any official body that will make health care decisions about end-of-life. deal with it and argue the facts, don’t beg the question by dismissing the argument at the git-go before any arguing has been done.

    and please, let’s all drop the tired journalistic convention of “dispelling myths.” For God’s sake, leave myths alone: they are big deals and sometimes true true, and the term should only be used for ideas about gods hurling fire to earth or mothers killing their young or bravehearts killing dragons. or the world made on the back of a turtle, or from the dust by God…
    wrongheaded ideas about mundane stuff in politics may be misconceptions, dumb thoughts, or idiocy, but they are not myths.
    saying they are indicates already someone is outside the realm of logical argument and into some religious mission of slaying heretics.
    Stop it and start arguing your case.

    • Submitted by Robert Henderson on 09/11/2013 - 01:52 pm.

      I agree let’s stop calling them myths

      And just call them what they are, lies.

      There are no death panels created by the law, none. Now if you’d like to argue that, please cite the specific language in the bill that creates death panels.

Leave a Reply