Home » Editorial » How does the State of MN pay its $50 million?

ThroughMyEyesnew

Has there been a breach of contract?

 
“Drop-dead” dates sends chills through lawyers advising legislators, executives and investors, because of the consequences of failing to comply with legal/contractual obligations on time. Minnesota’s Vikings drop-dead date is February 15, 2014: the date the NFL requires teams to submit notice if they will not play in their city in 2014. Will we save the stadium and our beloved Vikings?

As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the 1963 “March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom” (“I have a dream”), Minnesota is pushing aside stadium employment equity and diversity considerations. Note the irony that it is two Black guys who have stood up for the Vikings and a new stadium and warned of the efforts to force them out (Dennis Green’s 1997 book and my 2002 book).

It is also ironic that as the governor and Minnesota Sports Facility Authority (MSFA) have questioned the Wilfs’ ability to comply, their ability is also in question, as their failure to comply could cause the Vikings to leave Minnesota. How about an audit of the stadium activities of the governor, legislature and MSFA?

When the MSFA chair recently rushed to New York City to meet with the NFL, did they discuss the NFL’s concern about the drop-dead date for paying the State’s $50 million initial payment? The 68-page legislative document authorizing the stadium has sections (e.g., see p. 18, lines 22.11 through 22.22) now giving nightmares to the MSFA attorneys, Dorsey and Whitney who should have better prepared and advised the MSFA chair before the meeting with the NFL.

The Governor and MSFA have questioned the business practices and integrity of the Vikings ownership. What about their own, including their potential default on the State’s first $50 million, that was to be paid into the construction fund?

The Vikings paid theirs. When and can Minnesota honor its mutually agreed-to financial responsibilities, especially in light of their seriously and disastrously miscalculation on revenues, and failure to yet sell the tax-supported bonds?

The legislature insisted upon, and all parties — Vikings, NFL, State, and MSFA — agreed to the legislation, including its lines 22.17 through lines 22.20 of p. 18. Is the MSFA justifying its delay by saying the forensic accounting audit should be completed first (this month) and that the Vikings must first return to the negotiating table? Are they skirting agreements just as they accuse the Wilfs of doing?

Here is another key question: because no one has accepted responsibility for cost overruns and all other financial issues as discussed at line 18.11 through 18.17 (page 14), how can the Vikings be obligated to do so? Vikings’ attorney Warren was warned about the potential cost overrun of $273 million, with this quote from my 2002 book, p. 132 (the Vikings and many state officials have copies): the Journal of the American Planning Association reported that 28 percent was the average cost overrun for major construction projects, 1910-1998. Thus, $975 million times 28 percent equals $273 million in cost overruns (its how both sides’ special interests get a piece of the action).

Another drop-dead date: November 15, for the signed purchase agreement and advance payment if steel for the stadium is to be ordered and delivered by July of 2014, if the stadium is to be NFL ready and NFL certified by August 2016. How much of a financial setback and an additional burden on the taxpayers of Minnesota will now come into play to keep the Viking? These are questions that must be answered by September 15.

Stay tuned.

 

For Ron’s hosted show’s broadcast times, solution papers, archives, and how to order his books, go to www.TheMinneapolisStory.com.  See web site’s “Solution” section, #24 (2005, listing those who called for the Vikings to leave town) and #47 (2013: columns on the leave or stay question since 2005).

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