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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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“We didn’t know!” Really?

Everybody pretends ignorance or amnesia on Zygi’s dealings
 

Many intelligent, knowledgeable people purposefully said they were surprised by the 21-year-old court ruling against the Wilfs, owners of the Minnesota Vikings. Really? Why do they think we believe them (Star Tribune wrote of it in 2011)? They quietly believed the Wilfs would win. What they “won” is loss of credibility. Continue Reading →

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Do NFL owners get free racketeering passes?

 

 

Having grown up in Chicago, I think I know a thing or two about racketeering and fraud. Have you heard of Al Capone? The National Football League, the game we love, has two franchise owners, one in each conference, who are in deep trouble with the feds. Cleveland Browns’ owner Jimmy Haslem has since April been under investigation by the FBI for his involvement and ownership in Pilot Flying J. Several of his employees have already been arrested, and lawsuits are piling up. The Vikings shared ownership of Zygi, Mark and Leonard Wilf was recently slammed by a New Jersey Judge for violating state racketeering laws and using fraudulent bookkeeping practices. Continue Reading →

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The ins and outs of player trades

 

 

The MSR is happy to introduce a new voice on our sports page, that of Julia Toles. Julia describes herself as “a writer, future producer, and driven young lady who is trying to be the voice of the unheard. I am a firm believer that so much can be learned through stories and listening. My passion for telling stories through the written word is what drives me daily. I hope that you enjoy the ride as I report the truth, delve into the ugly, and stay persistent in honesty!”

 
Introducing a new MSR sports columnist:
 
 

Welcome to the world of “Julia Says.”

 

Have you ever wondered why in the world of sports there is such a thing called trades? Continue Reading →

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People’s Stadium in trouble! — Can the funding really be found?

 

 

How does “the People’s Stadium” stand at this hour? Answer: wobbly, as we see from the fierce and personal debates within the Minnesota legislature regarding how to pay for the “People’s Stadium.”

Why the silence from the state’s two major newspapers? Their silence raises serious questions regarding their journalistic integrity. Fear of transparency? As I have stated unequivocally before, the financial plan to fund the People’s Stadium was ill conceived, rushed without fully vetting the details. Continue Reading →

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Legislature caught whistling in the dark — Financial problems for Viking stadium construction project

 

 

For years I have defined as ill-conceived any planning that mostly serves the planners and their agency/bosses and not those they plan for, that too often leave African Americans out of their equations, purposefully failing or refusing to meet both diversity and equity hiring requirements and appropriate funding or financing best practices regarding construction, education, housing, jobs and public safety. I have long written about the perils of such ill-conceived planning regarding the Vikings stadium. The Star Tribune reminded us of these perils in articles last week, April 8 and 9, perils that could lead to a failed stadium project and loss of the Vikings to another city. There is anxiety in the Minnesota legislature. Read from my over 25 columns on this gathered together in a solutions paper for the Vikings stadium situation, at www.theminneapolisstory.com/solutionpapers/47SaveVikings.htm. Continue Reading →

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White unions get $1 million to train workers of color to build stadiums? — It’s time for the B.S. to end

 

 

Which legacy for the Vikings Stadium? Only qualified White workers or qualified workers regardless of color? Employment apartheid or inclusiveness? Employment inclusiveness and fairness, or employment apartheid and unfairness? The 100 qualified Gentlemen of the Roundtable of Kansas City, Missouri, journeymen construction workers introduced in a previous column, have since talked with the Vikings. Continue Reading →

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Gentlemen of the Round Table ready to work on People’s Stadium

 

 

Sometime in late March of 2013, an African American construction trade association, Gentlemen of the Round Table, will be looking forward to its meeting with the Sports Facilities Authority to present its members’ credentials qualifying them to work on the Viking’s People’s Stadium. What a difference a plan makes to enable meeting a dream and vision of minority inclusion. This group of 100 Black men in the construction trades, based in Kansas City, Missouri, was formed seven years ago. All are journeymen. Over half own their own businesses. Continue Reading →

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So much for 32 percent Black participation in stadium construction — When will the State deposit its $50M statutory requirement?

 
 

Vikings People’s-no-new-taxes stadium is unraveling for the African American community. “It’s ours” ballyhoo regarding Minnesota has become “it’s mine” for NFL, the Wizard of Oz behind the Vikings’ curtain. • 32 percent minority participation goals of Minnesota’s State Department of Human Rights Director Kevin Lindsay were pulverized into dust. My estimate of 1-1.5 percent African American participation: too high. Actual and factual: unless there is unanticipated change, less than half of one percent, including employment and contracts. Continue Reading →

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Let the games begin: the selection of stadium construction manager — Fraser, Davis and Tomlin: quota guys in the NFL?

 

The push-Black-Americans-in-football-to-the-back-of-the-bus games have begun, raising “Blacks need not apply” signs not only for stadium construction jobs but also NFL team head-coaching jobs. This is not about quotas. It is about statistical probabilities not being met due to intentional skewing out of contention a specific group of people. In this case, Black American workers, whether on stadiums or on stadium-field sidelines. On or about February 1, the Sports Facilities Authority will select a Vikings’ stadium construction manager. Continue Reading →

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