After Vikings owner Zygi Wilf and his family were found by a judge to have committed civil fraud and violated New Jersey racketeering law in a real estate case, Gov. Mark Dayton wants reassurance that the Vikings gave truthful statements in getting the state to help build a new stadium.
The judge in the case ruled that “bad faith and evil motive were demonstrated in the testimony of Zygi Wilf himself.”
Superior Court Judge Deanne Wilson said in court: “I do not believe I have seen one single financial statement that is true and accurate.”
Dayton aide Bob Hume issued this statement from the governor this morning:
“I am deeply concerned by the Judge’s findings that the Wilf family committed fraud, breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty; violated New Jersey’s civil racketeering statute; and presented untruthful and inaccurate financial statements. Those practices are far from the legal standards for doing business in Minnesota.
The Court’s findings pertain to a case that is unrelated to the agreement negotiated last year with the Wilfs and the Vikings. However, since the Stadium Authority has not yet signed the final agreement, I would urge the Board to have its legal counsel assure them and the people of Minnesota that all of the representations made by the team and its owners are truthful and accurate.”
The state agreed to pay $348 million of the $975 million stadium cost. The city of Minneapolis will pay $150 million while the team pays $477 million using $200 million from the NFL and seat license fees for part of its contribution.
On Wednesday, Vikings Vice President of Public Affairs Lester Bagley told the Associated Press: “This is a private business matter and involves a business dispute. But it will not impact the Vikings or the stadium project.”