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Wilfs to appeal lawsuit’s $84.5 million damage award

Maplewood police investigating priest; archdiocesan handling of another priest case “troubling”; Letterman “ranks” Minnesota businesses;  actuarial contract a surprise; Strib questions day-care union pitch; and more.

Of course, there’ll be no check-cutting in the near future … At ESPN, Ben Goessling reports: “Judge Deanne Wilson came down hard on the Wilf family on Monday afternoon, ordering the Vikings owners to pay $84.5 million in compensatory and punitive damages to their business partners in a 21-year-old lawsuit. But if the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority’s review of the Wilfs’ finances hadn’t already underscored the obvious point that an eight-figure judgment won’t derail a family rich enough to own a NFL team, something the Wilfs’ lawyers said in a Monday afternoon conference call drove home a reminder of why the lawsuit never put the Vikings’ new stadium in jeopardy. … Wilson stayed the order to make the Wilfs’ net worth public, and the owners’ attorneys said they would fight to keep that figure private. The other key development from the ruling is that the case will be referred to a New Jersey criminal court, thanks to a state law that requires the attorney general to investigate any lawsuits that involve punitive damages.”

At MPR, Tim Nelson reminds readers/listeners: “The actual cost to the Vikings of the new stadium isn’t clear. The team pledged $477 million for the facility, but has already announced $200 million in NFL-subsidized financing. Previous NFL deals indicate the team could expect to net more than $150 million more from fans when the MSFA sells seat licenses on the team’s behalf. A typical naming rights deal could pay the equivalent of $120 million in present value for the team. Together, those three sources of revenue could potentially cover more than 99 percent of the team’s pledge, according to an MPR News analysis of the stadium deal.” As I say, our local negotiators really held the Wilfs’/NFL’s feet to the fire on that one.

I believe his phrase was “which I deny.” Tom Scheck of MPR continues coverage of the matter of Father Mark Huberty in Maplewood: “Maplewood police say they have been investigating allegations of criminal sexual misconduct by a Maplewood priest since May 1. The Rev. Mark Huberty, pastor of the Church of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Maplewood, has taken a voluntary leave of absence over an allegation he inappropriately touched a woman, which he denies. … The alleged act is a violation of the pastoral code of conduct at the Archdiocese. State law also forbids a priest from having sexual relations with parishioners or anyone under the pastoral care.”

On the other local church scandal of the dayScheck and Madeleine Baran report: “Ramsey County’s top prosecutor says he’s deeply concerned about the way the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis handled the case of a priest who was known to be a sex addict — and who was later convicted of child sexual abuse. An MPR News investigation found that Catholic Church leaders did not alert parishioners to the Rev. Curtis Wehmeyer’s past, and didn’t immediately report allegations of abuse to police. … Ramsey County Attorney John Choi told MPR News today that he found the report ‘troubling.’ ‘Nothing has been presented to our office in terms of reviewing any of the issues that were raised in the MPR report this morning,’ he said, ‘but we will be in contact with the St. Paul Police Department to discuss this matter.’ “

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Sen. Al Franken got David Letterman on video for a “Top 10” list at the Minnesota Business Partnership meeting. Says Baird Helgeson in the Strib: “Here is Letterman’s top 10 least successful Minnesota businesses:
10. 2M
9. Ventura’s Secret
8. Whore-mel
7. Land-O-Lactose
6. The law firm of Olson, Carlson, Gustafson, Jensen, Peterson, Petersen, Pederson and Schwartz …
3. Second Best Buy
2. Prince’s Awkwardly Shaped Guitar Center
1. (Minnesota Business Partnership executive director) Charlie Weaver’s House of Toast .”

At another business gathering, Adam Belz of the Strib reports: “China is unlikely to displace the United States as the world’s greatest superpower, an investment banker from Hong Kong told the Economic Club of Minnesota on Monday. Timothy Beardson, author of ‘Stumbling Giant: The Threats to China’s Future,’ pointed to an aging population that’s about 15 years from peaking, a lack of innovation, a rising cohort of young men who will not be able to find wives, a dysfunctional financial system and environmental degradation. … Even China’s $3.5 trillion in foreign currency reserves are not necessarily a strength, Beardson said. China borrows money to buy foreign currency, mostly dollars, and the interest it gets on U.S. Treasurys is less than the interest it pays on about $3 trillion it has borrowed at home to buy the currency, he said. The Chinese government likely loses $60 billion a year on the mismatch.”

The GleanAll is forgiven. Welcome back. Christopher Snowbeck of the PiPress reports: “An actuarial firm that’s been caught up in questions over excessive payment rates to Medicaid HMOs in Minnesota has been awarded a new state contract. But this time, the work of advising on rates by Milliman Inc. will be conducted out of the company’s office in Milwaukee, rather than its Minneapolis office. While some reacted to the announcement Monday with surprise and even skepticism that a new actuary hadn’t been hired, state officials said the new contract represents a break from the past with more than 20 new requirements including better analysis of HMO profit margins.”

The Strib is not a fan of the push to unionize day care workers. In an editorial, it says: “Minnesotans heard a lot about improving quality of care and pay for providers when the DFL legislative majority heavy-handedly pushed through a controversial child care unionization bill last spring. What families and policymakers didn’t hear about was another so-called “benefit” that recently has been touted in pro-unionization efforts with home-based providers — leveraging a union’s collective strength to resist regulation. This new messaging from union supporters ought to outrage parents, who depend not only on conscientious providers but on hardworking regulators to ensure kids’ safety once they’re dropped off at family day cares.”

The pot hysteria bandwagon continues to roll on. Here — via Sally Jo Sorensen at Bluestem Prairie — we have a letter from former GOP Rep. Judy Soderstrom from up around Hinckley. She doesn’t like what the guy who defeated her, DFLer Tim Faust, is pushing …

Marijuana is hurting our kids and Representative Faust wants to make it easier to get. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. SAMHSA released a study last week regarding drug use by our nation’s teenagers. The report showed that, on a typical day in America, young people are more likely to smoke marijuana for the first time than they are to smoke tobacco cigarettes for the first time.  . . . A month ago a huge marijuana bust occurred near Hinckley … Even though more people use and abuse marijuana than any other drug in our country, with the exception of alcohol, Tim Faust, our state representative, wants to make marijuana even easier to get. Faust is co-authoring a bill that will be heard next March which would open the door to marijuana use in Minnesota under the guise of ‘medical marijuana.’ ”