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Wilfs say 'anti-wealth bias' behind efforts to make family net worth public

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Don't hate us because we're rich.

In documents related to the New Jersey civil case involving the Wilf family, the Star Tribune reports that Vikings owner Zygi Wilf said an “anti-wealth bias” is driving efforts to force him and his family to reveal their net worth.

The 21-page legal memorandum is linked to the Wilfs’ appeal of a New Jersey civil case. The documents address Superior Court Judge Deanne Wilson, the trial court judge who famously said the Wilfs showed “bad faith and evil motive” in defrauding their business partners. Her ruling said that the family must disclose their net worth as part of the $84.5 million in damages they were ordered to pay.

Now the Wilfs have taken on Wilson, saying in the legal filing that she “embraced an anti-wealth bias that gave undue weight to public curiosity. [The] trial court repeatedly commented that wealthy individuals like the Wilfs who work in a business that has high visibility must accept unwarranted invasions of privacy.”

Attorneys for the family argued that such disclosure is not supported by New Jersey law and that ­rulings by other courts routinely kept net worth private. The memorandum said that “none of the Wilfs is seeking special treatment. Just because the Wilfs are involved in businesses that attract attention, such as owning a National Football League team, and successful real estate developments, they should not be forced to reveal private financial information that others working in less public endeavors would not be required to reveal.”

The family also argued that revealing their net worth could put them at a competitive disadvantage. They previously said it could subject them to extortion and compromise the safety of family members.

The Business Journal looked into reports that have detailed the wealth of the Wilfs, citing a lengthy profile in the New York Observer, which pointed out that professional sports ownership is not a good investment for a rich family that wants to keep their financial secrets. The profile said that estimates of the family's net worth varies by a billion dollars. CelebrityNetWorth.com said the family is worth $1.3 billion and Sports Illustrated put the figure at $310 million.

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