December 20, 2014

Gov. Dayton Urging Vikings Owners to Reconsider Stadium Fee Ideas

By KBJR News 1

Gov. Dayton Urging Vikings Owners to Reconsider Stadium Fee Ideas

November 13, 2012 Updated Nov 13, 2012 at 1:59 PM CST

St. Paul, MN (NNCNOW.com) --- Governor Mark Dayton recently sent a letter to both owners of the Minnesota Vikings concerning recent news about the team's involvement with the new stadium.

In the letter Governor Dayton says that he is "distressed" by the way the owners are trying to fund the stadium and with the team's decision to play "home games" overseas so soon.

Here is the letter Governor Dayton sent to Zygi and Mark Wilf:

"Dear Mr. Wilf and Mr. Wilf:
Recent news reports about the Vikings' involvement with the new stadium have not been favorable. First, the team announced that it would play a 2013 "home game" in London, which, it was claimed, should not count against the limit of three such games every fifteen years, because the final agreement had not been signed.

"After my strong objection, I was told the team verbally agreed that a 2013 London game would count as one of the three overseas games during the first fifteen years of the project. Soon thereafter, the team expressed its desire to play a second "home game" overseas in the near future and extolled the virtues of its doing so.

"The Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority and the Vikings are supposed to be working together to build a new $975 million stadium. It would be far more helpful, if the Vikings focused public attention on a desire to play home games there, rather than elsewhere.

"Now comes word that the team is considering requiring season ticket-holders to pay part of the "NFL Team/Private Contribution" for construction costs. I strongly oppose shifting any part of the team's responsibility for those costs onto Minnesota Vikings fans. This Private Contribution is your responsibility, not theirs. I said this new stadium would be a "People's Stadium", not a "Rich People's Stadium". I meant it then, and I mean it now.

"The project's strong support came from many regular Minnesotans, not just rich Minnesotans, because they believed the Vikings are also their team. If a new stadium were to betray that trust, it would be better that it not be built.

"Incongruously, since the revenues from the sale of the "Stadium Builder's Licenses" go to the Vikings, the law says that only the Authority may sell them. Reportedly, the purpose for this arrangement is to shield revenue from taxes. If true, I deplore it.

"However, since it is the Authority, which will make the decision whether or not to sell those license, I will urge its Board not to proceed. If necessary, I will go to the Legislature next January and urge the authorization be rescinded.

"I am greatly distressed by these developments and the future they portend. We negotiated in good faith. Not surprisingly, given the project's magnitude and complexity, some details were not fully understood and some differences still remain. They must be resolved consistent with Minnesota standards and values. I urge all parties to think about those qualities, which make Minnesota special, as they consider their options.

Sincerely,
Mark Dayton"

Posted to the web by Krista Burns


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