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Former Head of Vikings Stadium Authority Got Prime Seats

Michele Kelm-Helgen Photo: KSTP/File
Michele Kelm-Helgen

March 05, 2017 08:28 PM

The former chair of the oversight body for the Minnesota Vikings' stadium jumped to the head of the line to buy front-row season tickets.

The Star Tribune reports that Michele Kelm-Helgen also helped friends and family members buy the rights to nearby seats before longtime season ticket holders could claim them.

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Kelm-Helgen says she never intended to go to the front of the line and would have waited until later to purchase her tickets if she had realized how early in the sales process it was.

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She resigned under fire last month as chairwoman of the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority amid intense criticism of her use of two publicly owned luxury suites to entertain friends, family and Democratic Party allies.

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Kelm-Helgen emailed the following statement:

As the sales process for SBL's and season tickets got underway, I was enthusiastic in my support of the sales process, the stadium and of course our main tenant, the Minnesota Vikings, both professionally and personally. Ensuring a strong start, was all of our goal and in my stadium leadership role, I wanted the sales to be successful.  However, I did not ask enough questions or think carefully enough about how my actions, while intended to be helpful, would be viewed by the public. I never intended to have been in the front of the line and would have waited to purchase tickets later, if I had realized how early in the sales process this was. I have learned so much in this process and I certainly apologize for for my mistakes.

Early on, Van Wagner, the sales agent to the Vikings told me they were establishing new systems to sell seat licenses and tickets, and they wanted to test early sales with friendly prospects.  Jason Gonella, the lead sales director told me they were working to bring in some early prospects to the Vikings sales center to hone their sales process and asked me if I had people I could recommend to bring in.

Any people I referred worked directly with Van Wagner sales people, but I did refer people who agreed to come in and hear the sales presentation.  To the best of my recollection, individuals I referred included both long time season ticket holders who would have come in early in the process and a few new ticket holders, including myself:

-my husband and I bought 2 tickets (we previously did not have season tickets) -Robert and Margaret Hanlon (my sister) -Anderson, Helgen, Davis and Cefelu (my husbands law firm) -Mike and Jean Buller (longtime family season ticket holders) -Mary and Dick Kollen (season ticket holder with friends for many years) -Sharon and Bruce Hendry -Ted Grindal ( season ticket holder for many years) -Tom Borman (season ticket holder with his family for many years)

While I had viewed this as being a helpful part of the sales process, I must say again I certainly regret I did not think more about public perception and therefore the impact of my actions.

(Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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