Vikings stadium planners duel in court with project foes


The teams behind the effort to construct a new Vikings stadium have lined up helmet-to-helmet against three opponents of the project in the Minnesota Supreme Court.

At issue in the time-sensitive, high-stakes legal battle brought by three state residents is whether the state can issue bonds to help pay for its share of the new $1 billion, 65,000-seat venue. Both sides in the skirmish filed their arguments in the state's high court on Thursday.

The three Minneapolis residents — former mayoral candidate and unemployed nurse Douglas Mann and his wife, Linda; and former city School Board member David Tilsen — say the bond sale is unconstitutional. The trio delayed last week's issuing of the bonds with their lawsuit and potentially threw a costly postponement into the project timeline.

“The state of Minnesota and its taxpayers have a vested interest in the state’s creditworthiness and the compliance of public officials with the law,” the three said in their case briefs. “[We] have a right ... to restrain a public official from the unlawful use of public funds.”

The forces lined up behind the new downtown Minneapolis stadium include the Minnesota Department of Management and Budget, which would issue the state bonds. The panel argued that stadium legislation does not give a few irked citizens the “authority to determine the validity of the stadium bonds,” the Star Tribune notes.

The project-managing Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority also weighed in with tough language, noting that the lawsuit could disrupt the "delicate timing" of the project and make it more expensive despite "meritless arguments that cause harm not because they are valid, but merely because they have been asserted,” the authority said in its filing.

And the authority got personal, noting in its briefs that “Mr. Mann appears to be a serial litigant, determined to keep asserting meritless claims until this court, the final arbiter of Minnesota law, definitely disposes of those claims.”

The Pioneer Press reports Mann fired back, saying the stadium fight "is the result of the Authority's own malfeasance and not of any lawsuit brought by the petitioners. The Authority purchased Goods and services without legally available funds to pay for them."

The state aims to sell $468 million in bonds to finance the public's share of the cost of the new stadium. Timely sale of the bonds is key to the project, which is on a tight schedule with a goal of opening for the 2016 season.

The City of Minneapolis has agreed to pay a $150 million share of the nearly $1 billion project, and the state's share is $348 million ($30 million has already been raised through a one-time inventory tax on cigarettes). The Vikings have agreed to pay the remainder.

Mann has specifically argued that the use of city funds to pay for a state-incurred debt is unconstitutional. Mann and the two other plaintiffs argue the stadium financing deal circumvented a Minneapolis charter provision that would have prompted a citywide vote, MPR News notes. But stadium planners say the bonds have already survived similar legal challenges.

The game clock is running: To keep the project on schedule, authority officials have said they need $17 million from bond proceeds by Jan. 23 and another $8 million the next day for land purchases, the Pioneer Press notes.

The high court is expected to set a hearing or issue a judgment "in short order," MPR reports.

Next Up

Pixabay - emergency room ambulance hospital

St. Paul man dies six days after crash on I-94

The Hennepin County Medical Examiner has identified the man as David Rodney Hardaway.

police lights squad car dark - Unsplash

Double murder in northeastern Minnesota, suspect kills himself after chase

The suspect died at the scene from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

chaska school fight

Anti-masker involved in school board meeting fight charged with assault

It happened last month at an Eastern Carver County Schools hearing.

Marcus Foligno

Marcus Foligno throws hands, scores game-winning goal in Wild's opener

The Wild forward scored with 7.2 seconds left to beat Anaheim.

Screen Shot 2021-10-15 at 10.01.55 PM

Large police presence at Emagine Willow Creek movie theater in Plymouth

There are few details at this stage as to what has happened.

Maple Grove Police Department

Maple Grove-based businessman convicted of fatally shooting wife

Wiseman owns properties in both Minnesota, Nevada and China.

betty and earls biscuits facebook

Jason Matheson's biscuit shop to briefly close ahead of relaunch

Betty & Earl's will shut down for two weeks before reopening under a new name.

Simon Merino Go Fund Me

Worker dies in forklift accident at paper recycling business

The victim was described as a loving father of two who was devoted to his church.

rosie means - go fund me

Authorities ID woman killed by hit-and-run driver who ran red light

A fundraiser was created to support the family after the "sudden and senseless loss."

Prior Lake Football

Watch: Prior Lake stuns Rosemount with last-second hook and ladder

The Lakers dusted off an old favorite to get a victory on Thursday night.

unsplas - maple leaf frost fall lawn

MN gets its first frost advisories, freeze warnings of the season

The coldest spots could dip to below 30 degrees overnight.


Ahead of Big Ten clash, Huskers fans spend their Friday mocking PJ Fleck

Huskers fans are in a playful mood ahead of Saturday's game.