Thursday, April 24, 2014

Vikings stadium bond sale delayed by legal challenge from stadium opponent

MINNEAPOLIS — A legal challenge has forced the state to delay a $468 million bond sale to finance the new stadium for the Minnesota Vikings, state officials announced Sunday, saying the lawsuit jeopardizes plans to open the facility for the 2016 season as well as a nearby $400 million development.
The bond sale had been scheduled for Monday and Tuesday. Minnesota Management and Budget Commissioner Jim Showalter said Sunday that he hoped the delay would be brief but that officials decided it was “appropriate and prudent” to postpone the sale until the Minnesota Supreme Court can sort out the legal issues.

Federal law requires that all material information — including any pending legal actions — be disclosed when bonds are sold, Showalter noted.
The bonds must be sold ahead of the Jan. 23 closing date for land near the new stadium in downtown Minneapolis, said Michele Kelm-Helgen, chairwoman of the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority. Otherwise, she said, the state won’t have money to pay bills coming due for architects and other contractors for work they’ve already done, the Vikings might have to play for a third season at TCF Bank Stadium at the University of Minnesota because of construction delays, and the entire Wells Fargo/Ryan Cos. office tower-housing-retail development known as Downtown East could be jeopardized.
The challenge was filed with the Minnesota Supreme Court on Friday by former Minneapolis mayoral candidate Doug Mann. He told The Associated Press on Sunday that he believes the bond sale is unconstitutional and that a referendum should have been held to let Minneapolis voters decide whether to finance the stadium. He said it’s one of two legal actions he filed late last week after a Hennepin County judge dismissed his earlier challenge in November.
“I’m opposed to this financing being done in ways that are illegal,” Mann said.
Mann drew 779 first-choice votes in the city’s mayoral election in November, which was the city’s first use of ranked-choice voting.

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