Updated: 09/17/2013 5:19 PM
Created: 09/04/2013 10:11 AM KSTP.com
By: Scott Theisen
The Minnesota Vikings shouldn't have any trouble paying for their share of a new $975 million stadium, the chairwoman of the public authority managing the project said Wednesday.
Authority chairwoman Michele Kelm-Helgen revealed preliminary results of a financial review conducted after a New Jersey court ruling against team owners Zygi and Mark Wilf, which found they defrauded a partner in an unrelated development deal. The Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority met in private to discuss an ongoing due diligence review of team finances.
Kelm-Helgen said the review is likely to be finalized by next week. But she said financial and legal documents so far indicate the Vikings should be able to cover their $477 million share of the stadium.
"Based on the information received to date, we have indications that the team will have the financial capability to move forward with the stadium project," Kelm-Helgen said in a prepared statement following the closed meeting.
The Wilfs' legal troubles, and the ensuing review, have ignited worry about the stadium's construction timeline. The financial review prompted the Vikings to temporarily halt negotiations with the stadium authority over lease and development agreements, but the team released a statement Wednesday afternoon suggesting the talks could now continue.
"We will work with the authority to finalize the use and development agreements," the team's statement said.
Stadium planners are hoping for a groundbreaking in early November, and any delays in the schedule threaten to increase costs to taxpayers, who are covering a total of $498 million in construction costs.
Kelm-Helgen's full statement:
“We have almost all the information, both financial and legal, that we need to finalize the due diligence review,” said board Chair Michele Kelm-Helgen. “While the preliminary update given to the board today shows substantial progress, Dorsey and FTI will have to wait for all of the requested information in order to complete their final report. However, based on the information received to date, we have indications that the Team will have the financial capability to move forward with the stadium project. The report will detail our due diligence process and provide findings to the Authority. We expect this report to be finalized next week and will make this public as soon as we receive it.”
The Vikings released this statement:
"The Vikings are pleased that the stadium project continues to move forward. Our fans deserve - and we are committed to building - a state-of-the-art facility in downtown Minneapolis. The new $975 million stadium will bring thousands of construction and ongoing jobs, along with further economic activity from stadium attendees who will patronize restaurants, bars and retail stores both before and after events.
We continue to believe that the stadium will be built on schedule and will open in time for the 2016 season. The team continues to work collaboratively with the Stadium Authority on the stadium project, and the Authority's comments today are a reflection of our partnership. We will continue to address the design and construction process, and we will work with the Authority to finalize the Use and Development Agreements."
(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)