Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority looks into Wilfs' finances

9:26 PM, Aug 13, 2013   |    comments
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MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority announced Tuesday it has retained a lawyer for due diligence following a civil court ruling out of New Jersey that went against the Minnesota Vikings owners.

"To me it's all about ensuring the public that we're doing our job," said Michele Kelm-Helgen with MSFA.

MSFA admits it didn't know about the Wilf's civil case before the ruling, but that doesn't mean it didn't vet the owners before forming a partnership.

"We need to just do some additional reviews over and above what we would have done anyway to make sure this court ruling doesn't have a negative impact," said Kelm-Helgen.

A senior litigator from Dorsey and Whitney has been hired to handle the inquiry. He will review not only this case, but any other possible litigation the Wilfs might be involved in, background checks and the family's NFL owner application.

Lester Bagley with the  Minnesota Vikings said this to us on the phone: "The Vikings will cooperate fully on the Stadium Authority due diligence request as we have cooperated throughout the stadium project and continue to be transparent and good partners. We would ask the Stadium Authority to not slow or delay the stadium project while they complete their investigation. We have tight timelines and delays only increase the cost for everyone."

William Mitchell Law Professor Daniel Kleinberger says civil suits like this for businessmen like the Wilfs is not uncommon and the move by the MSFA is all about perception.

"I think it's unfortunately a reflection of our culture that they feel obligated to do this even thought they may have been advised that they were okay. Sometimes appearances matter as much as reality," said Kleinberger.

When you're dealing with taxpayer money it's not surprising that some would be concerned after this latest revelation.

"I would worry more about whether our quarterback will perform to his potential," joked Kleinberger.

MSFA has said the due diligence will take weeks not months and that everything will move forward as planned for now.

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