Skip to main content

Dispute on Sports Facilities board leads to sudden resignation

  • Author:
  • Updated:
    Original:

The treasurer of the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority resigned Friday, saying he could no longer work with the authority's chair.

Duane Benson, a former Republican legislator and Oakland Raiders linebacker, made the announcement at the end of the group's meeting Friday.

Multiple reports indicate that Benson claimed authority chair Michele Kelm-Helgen called him "untrustworthy" and a "liar."

Benson's resignation appears to be related to a continuing dispute over Kelm-Helgen's pay.

MPR News notes that a recent state report shows Kelm-Helgen is paid more than $35,000 less than her male counterpart Ted Mondale. According to the report, Kelm-Helgen is paid $127,000 annually, while Mondale is making just over $162,000.

According to the Star Tribune, Benson said he fails to understand why the board has two people – Kelm-Helgen and executive Director Ted Mondale – acting as CEOs on the project.

The Republican-controlled House moved to strip away Kelm-Helgen's salary during the legislative session, but that prompted an angry response from the governor and the in the end her salary was left unchanged.

The dispute had gone public a few months ago and had lingered during the last few MSFA board meetings.

Kelm-Helgen acknowledged to MPR News there has been a mistrust between her and Benson, which has made it difficult to work together.

"I don't believe I called him a liar," Kelm-Helgen told MPR. "I did have a conversation with him telling him that I'm very disappointed, that what happened at the meeting was very different from what he told me his position would be the night before."

A fellow commissioner, John Griffith, told the Star Tribune after the meeting that Benson's decision was disappointing – an opinion the newspaper says was echoed by Vikings vice president Lester Bagley.

Next Up

Brave New Comedy Workshop in downtown Minneapolis.

Brave New Workshop cancels shows due to COVID-19 cases

The shows were scheduled for Friday and Saturday at the Brave New Workshop Comedy Theatre.

Austin Retterath

Body of missing U of M student found in Mississippi River

Austin Retterath was last seen alive in the morning hours of May 8.

"Love" mural seen in St. Paul.

Summer mural events to bring together community, shine light on MN artists

The 2022 Chroma Zone Mural & Art Festival will take place this weekend in St. Paul's Creative Enterprise Zone, with ensuing events happening this summer.

14869-Manitou-Road-NE-Prior-Lake-MN-55372-6110268-image37

Gallery: Remodeled lakeside home in Prior Lake on market for $2.8M

It offers privacy at the end of a dead-end road fronting onto Lower Prior Lake.

golden valley police department

Carjacking outside ice arena in Golden Valley under investigation

Golden Valley PD confirmed it received a report of a carjacking Monday evening.

Growlers

Signs that MN Legislature could move to loosen liquor laws

A provision was approved by a legislature committee on Thursday but still awaits a final decision from the House and Senate.

US Bank Stadium

U.S. Bank Stadium looking to hire 400 part-time workers

A hiring fair will be held for the positions.

Screen Shot 2022-05-20 at 8.55.56 AM

Officials looking for man last seen leaving Hudson home

David Mckay, 67, was last seen in Hudson Thursday morning.

covid

'Hyper-contagious' BA.4, BA.5 COVID variants confirmed in MN

Omicron continues to evolve into a more transmissible virus.

covid-19, coronavirus

Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Friday, May 20

The latest data shows there are 442 people with COVID hospitalized in Minnesota.

Related