Dayton: Wilfs should use their own money to pay for stadium


As contract negotiations for the nearly $1 billion Vikings stadium near their final stages, Gov. Mark Dayton raised concerns Monday over the team's share of the construction costs.

In a letter to the chairwoman of Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority, Dayton says Vikings owners Zygi and Mark Wilf should use money from their own pockets to pay for the team's share of the stadium versus money from fans through personal seat licenses--also called stadium builder's licenses.

Dayton cites a Minnesota Public Radio report from earlier this month that broke down the numbers. After league, fan and corporate dollars, the Wilfs may only be on the hook for less than 1 percent of the project costs, MPR said.

"I strongly urge you to negotiate a final financial agreement, which requires the Vikings' owners to provide a significant share of their financial contribution from their own resources, and not from Vikings' fans through the sale of expensive personal seat licenses," Dayton wrote.

The Star Tribune reports the letter stems from a recently completed "due-diligence" audit of the Wilfs that determined they have more than enough money to pay for their share of the stadium without revenue from the licenses, which could easily reach tens of millions of dollars or more.

"I have always said that this building should be a 'People's Stadium,'" Dayton said. "Excessive personal seat license fees conflict with that goal."

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