Minnesota Vikings team owners Zygi and Mark Wilf, and their cousin Leonard Wilf, were ordered to pay $103 million by a New Jersey judge Friday. The Star Tribune reports Judge Deanne Wilson also ordered the Wilfs to post a $110 million bond by Jan 8 that will be held until they exhaust their appeals in the case.
The fines were for cheating business partners in the management of an apartment complex in the New Jersey suburbs of New York City over 20 years. Judge Wilson ordered almost $100 million in damages and attorneys' fees to the plaintiffs.
The plaintiffs will have to wait for their payday, the judge said Friday. The Newark Star-Ledger reports Judge Wilson said it may take three years to resolve the Wilfs' appeals in the 21-year-old lawsuit.
“I can’t believe anyone is going to get through 28,000 pages of trial transcripts,” the judge said. She retired Friday after presiding over the trial since 2011.
She also set an interest rate of 2.25 percent annually for three years on those awards – meaning the Wilfs will have to pay more than $106 million if they lose their appeal.
Judge Wilson granted the Wilfs an emergency appeal of her order to disclose their net worth, which some say is more than $1 billion. The Wilfs have argued that releasing their net worth would be an invasion of their privacy, and they accused Wilson of an “anti-wealth bias.” That issue is expected to be resolved by the end of January.
The Pioneer Press notes the market value of the 764-unit apartment complex has not been determined, though the parties have agreed to divest their interests, and Wilson named a broker to resolve the sale. The Wilfs will get 50 percent.
The plaintiffs' lawyer said he would move to expedite the process because his client is terminally ill.
The Wilfs have made a $477 million commitment to the new $1 billion Vikings stadium.
The chair of the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority has assured the public that the New Jersey proceedings will have no impact on the Wilfs' obligations in Minnesota.
The team owners have arranged for U.S. Bank and Goldman Sachs to loan the Vikings $250 million, $100 million backed by revenue from the sale of personal seat licenses. Fans must buy a personal seat license to get a season ticket.
The Wilfs are also getting a $200 million loan from the NFL. They have pledged an additional $100 million from their personal resources.