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Critics question Wilf property tax deal on Metrodome dirt

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Critics are digging into the details about 20-foot-high piles of reusable dirt from the Metrodome demolition site that are occupying three nearby parking lots owned by the Wilf family, the Star Tribune reports.

According to the paper, internal documents show that as long as the dirt occupies the sites, the Wilfs do not have to pay property taxes on them. Instead, the tax bill – estimated at $90,000 – is being mostly paid by the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority.

The dirt reportedly will be reused as fill for the new Vikings stadium instead of being hauled to a landfill, and save $1 million in construction costs for the new stadium.

The Star Tribune says Sen. John Marty, DFL-Roseville, and Sen. David Osmek, R-Mound, oppose the idea of the authority paying the Wilf's property taxes on the lots. Marty acknowledges the amount is "small potatoes" but asks, "Do we have to give (Vikings owner Zygi Wilf) everything the guy ever wants?”

Defending the deal, Lester Bagley, the Vikings vice president for public affairs and stadium development, says the Vikings are "not being paid" for storing the dirt, but are "being made whole." Bagley also noted how the team has made "a significant investment into the project" that continues to increase.

Not all the dirt apparently stayed at the Metrodome location. In December, the city of Blaine announced that it be getting about 350,000 cubic yards of soil hauled away from the Metrodome site. The land the fill is being transported to is one of several parcels that Wilf had contingency deals to buy in 2006.

ABC Newspapers reported that the dirt was expected to be hauled to the city through the end of of this month. The location is now owned by Allina Health, which is expected to build on the site.

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