MSFA

Recent Articles

NAACP activates legal strategy

 

 

 

 

 

 
Local branch joins Doug Mann in Sports Authority law suit
 

One of the traditional strengths of the NAACP movement has been its shrewd planning for taking legal action against those violating rights of African Americans. When you think of the successes of NAACP legal redress committees, you think of such leaders as Walter White, Roy Wilkens and Thurgood Marshall, as well as such historic actions and legal milestones as the 1954 decision of Brown vs. Board of Education and Martin Luther King’s 1968 Poor Peoples March. The legal redress committee, a historic pillar of strength of NAACP branches across America fighting for African American civil rights, is seen once again in the local NAACP branch’s crafty move on the legal front to join the suit of long time NAACP member Doug Mann against the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority (MSFA) for its failure to meet its diversity pledge. With the appointment of long time local branch NAACP supporter Louis King to its executive committee, the trap door has been slammed shut on the MSFA. Continue Reading →

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Financial disaster for Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority

When Douglass Mann filed his motion with the Minnesota Supreme Court, early Friday morning, January 10, 2014, no one knew his motion was being sent to the State Supreme Court, raising serious constitutional issues with regard to the funding of the $1 billion “people’s stadium.”

As of the writing of this column, three days after the filing, the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority (MSFA) did one of the most peculiar things in the modern legal history of Minnesota: asked to be a defendant in this landmark constitutional case, peculiar because one thing that never happens in America is for people to rush into court to be a defendant, especially when there are allegations of constitutional violations. Besides obviously believing they can’t/won’t lose, the MSFA is employing a shrewd strategy: requesting that the Minnesota Supreme Court impose a $50 million bond upon the Mann group to stop their pursuit seeking justice and fairness for the taxpayers of the City of Minneapolis, and, by extension, the taxpayers of Minnesota, The MSFA, in about 16 months or less, has gone through $74 million, including the $50 million in cash provided by Ziggy Wilf and the Minnesota Vikings. Before the Supreme Court does anything, it should require a forensic audit as to how the MFSA conducted its business from July of 2012 through December of 2013, and how it has spent its money ($74 million) and doesn’t have money to pay the bills due ($28 million) later this month (Public Company Accounting Oversight Board says one in three company audits have “high levels of deficiencies.” How high for government agencies?). The MSFA is paying more for the foreign steel they purchased than they are confirming, and have apparently consummated contracts that are $50 million beyond what they have ever had in their bank accounts. And Thursday evening, Jan 9, MSFA Equity Director Alex Tittle not only pointed out that 46 percent of current stadium work force were women and minorities (hard to believe), but that “to date more than $120 million have been awarded in contracts.” Really? Continue Reading →

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Tensions divide stadium partners

Vikings and MSFA at odds
 
Is there a future for reconciliation between two partners who thought they had the world at their fingertips just a year ago, when in August of 2012 it was like a love fest, as the Vikings (Wilfs) and the state of Minnesota (Minnesota Sports Facility Authority) both declared their love, trust, and respect for each other? What difference a year can make. The New Jersey court ruling against the Wilfs led Minnesota (State, Sports commission, City) to question the integrity of the Vikes owners, the Wilfs, by ordering a forensic audit and an analysis of the Vikings’ owners ability to pay their portion of the $975 million so-called “Peoples” stadium. People tend to forget that just a year ago, as required by the legislation of 2012, the Vikings delivered $50 million to the Sports Facility Authority, when the MSFA was extremely cash flush ($50 million from the Vikings, $24 million transferred from the now defunct ballpark authority). Everyone expected that by now the State of Minnesota would be reaping the millions of dollars in revenue expected to be coming in from electronic pull tabs (and later electronic bingo), isn’t happening. Continue Reading →

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White professionals already cashing in on ‘People’s Stadium’ — But promises that construction will benefit communities of color remain unkept as deadlines approach

 

 

 

By Mel Reeves

Contributing Writer

 

While there is much talk about possible delays in the construction of the “People’s Stadium,” it appears that the Vikings and MSFA are still confident it will be built. And according to a recent Associated Press (AP) article entitled, “Many already cashing in on Vikings stadium,” lots of white collar professionals have already profited from the proposed stadium. Incidentally, it appears at this point that the only people who may be left out of the benefits are people of color. Despite lots of compelling testimony last Friday at the Minnesota Sports Facility Authority (MSFA) meeting by several prominent African Americans and Somali leaders, it was all but ignored. Practically all of the media outlets in the Twin Cities were in attendance, but none reported [as of yet] or followed up with the testimony of the Black folks who were complaining that it appears that Blacks may yet again be left out of a major development project. MSFA Board Chair Michelle Kelm-Helgen, who seemed a bit annoyed by the testimony, did respond. Continue Reading →

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Equity director hired for Vikings stadium project

For communities of color, he is now the most significant player
 

Congratulations to Alex Tittle on being appointed equity director for the Vikings stadium by the Minnesota Sports Facility Authority (MSFA), as announced Friday, June 14. Welcome, Mr. Tittle, to an historic task. A nine-year Army veteran (company commander and platoon leader) and interim director of the Office of Civil Rights, MN Department of Transportation, Mr. Tittle, will now be the most significant player on the Minnesota civil rights stage. I urge Mr. Tittle to read the results of my research as reported in this paper regarding the lack of diversity, equity and fairness in Minneapolis and Minnesota hiring (archived on my website). I urge Mr. Tittle to hold hearings, as authorized by the stadium legislation, in order for all to see whether plans submitted regarding equity commitment execution are actually followed. Continue Reading →

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Will Blacks finally get a fair share of work on this stadium?

Chair of stadium authority raises serious questions about past inclusion
 

Michele Kelm-Helgen, chairwoman of the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority (MSFA), who oversees design and construction of the Vikings’ “People’s Stadium,” told Minnesota Public Radio in an interview on February 8 that serious questions have been raised about the Equity Plan implementation passed by the MSFA that same day. Three City-commissioned studies by two separate research groups support Chairwoman Kelm-Helgen’s observations. The last study was issued on May 15, 2012, by NERA (National Economic Research Associates) at a cost to Minneapolis of $500,000. These studies expose the City’s serious and purposeful noncompliance with Minority and Women Business Enterprises (M/WBE) utilization requirements. NERA’s report provided evidence that supports the investigative reporting in this column for a decade. Continue Reading →

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Sports Authority Legislative Report, with Unequal Equity Plan, sent to legislature

It is an unintended but very real sad irony of history that on the birth date of Martin Luther King, Jr., January 15, the Vikings, the NFL, and the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority (MSFA) sent its first annual report to the state legislature carrying the message that there may be some room in the People’s Stadium construction bus, but only in the back, a Minnesota refrain I’ve steadily warned about since 2005. Our community has not believed. Will they now? On page six of the MSFA report to the legislature, we can see how the MSFA blindsided Commissioner Kevin Lindsay and the African American leadership of Minnesota. The highly touted, well-publicized PR charade of 32 percent minority participation evaporated. Continue Reading →

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Stadium equity plan not yet a reality

 
Is a 32 percent people-of-color workforce goal overly optimistic?  
News Analysis

By Mel Reeves

Contributing Writer

 

The plans are in full swing for the new $975 million Vikings stadium. And yet again many in the Black community hold out hope that the economic stimulus the stadium promises to provide will benefit them as well. Unemployment in the Black community continues to remain high. In fact, in the last quarter of 2012 unemployment in North Minneapolis hovered around 22 percent. Continue Reading →

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Vikings stadium officials promise 32 percent diversity hiring!

But no one seems to have a copy of the equity plan 
 

 

At a small, special meeting I attended at the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority (MSFA) Wednesday, October 10 that included MSFA Chairwoman Michele Kelm-Helgen and Executive Director Ted Mondale, we discussed the so-far nonexistent equity plan for the Vikings stadium that would include African American contractors and workers. The Met Council people present said there was one, online. We noted that is just not true. During the meeting we were told that 32 percent of the hours in stadium construction in the eventual plan will go to minorities and women. Really? Continue Reading →

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