Vikings win — again


Wilfs save stadium — again


Did you cheer the Vikings paying $50 million more toward stadium costs? Jeer instead the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority (MSFA), state legislature and city council that created this mess.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune, August 22-25, 2014 ran stories suggesting this cheers-jeers difference. It is not the MSFSA saving the Vikings, but — drum roll, please — the Wilf Vikings ownership group. We can hear MSFA and others cheer under their breath, “Thank God for Zygi.”

Stadium cost have risen from $975 million to $1.023 billion (and will continue to climb as we predicted last year, estimating eventually at least $300 million).

There were more closed discussions, not transparency again, this time in selecting the stadium’s long-term manager: SMG (which fortunately enjoys a good relationship with the Wilfs through SMG’s Jim Scherer, who they trust).

The Audubon Society and birds found out just how irrelevant they are. The MSFA greatly underestimated European steel costs to be charged by the Luxemburg-India conglomeration sourcing the steel, wiping out discussions and promises to Minnesota’s Iron Range, as we also predicted.

Why didn’t the MSFA exercise greater responsibility to pay greater attention to design and construction stages before signing (see stadium legislation language, p. 9, line 11.23 to line 11.28)? Stadium profits provide long-term operational stability.

The State, City and MSFA plans would not. SMG’s will (Dallas and Washington make $200-300 million more than the other teams and their stadiums, using their stadiums as profit anchors, as we have advocated and shown “how” to Minnesota, Minneapolis and the Vikings (we mistakenly thought our “no new taxes” approach would interest City and State).

Contrary to some, we have not been hard on the Vikings. We merely go where the facts lead. We are hard only on those refusing to follow, support and/or stand up for state laws and city statutes regarding training and hiring of minority/diversity/people of color,

And we condemn avoiding hiring people of color by including White women in the count. Mondale told me personally, in an open meeting with others, that although they didn’t comply on the other stadiums they would with the Vikings stadium. He lied, again.

We now ask the Vikings to call a meeting of all stakeholders (State, City, contractors, venders) to design and exercise compliance procedures, following legislative directed diversity employment requirements and directives without the loopholes. It would be a great way to divert a Ferguson in Minneapolis.

I have written extensively about the Vikings, Minnesota, Minneapolis and the stadium issue since 2002: book, columns; blog entries; solution papers (latest will be August 30, 2014).

We rejoice that the 2018 Super Bowl will give the Vikings and the NFL even more economic sustainability. This means we will have our beloved Vikings to cheer on for decades to come.

We do not cheer fewer jobs for people of color, nor do we cheer language under section 17 sub 473j.121 of the stadium legislation that offers loopholes to avoid hiring people of color. When asked at a recent public meeting to see workforce participation numbers, the MSFA could not produce the numbers.

Minnesota and Mortenson have long not “played ball” with tax payers. Who do you trust? Who do they trust?  Zygi and Vikings know their favored stadium management company will help them better manage their stadium and stadium-use assets.

We encourage a forensic audit of the MSFA books now and ongoing, not after stadium completion. Fans are cheering the new stadium. The Wilfs are cheering on their private airplane back to NJ to their favorite bank and stadium-management company. Where are the cheering workers of color?

Stay tuned.


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