Vikings lawsuits summary

Web_MinnesotaVikingsBY DAVID TILSEN

For those who are confused, here is a quick summary of the various lawsuits to stop the stadium.
In the Cohen, Woodruff, Ostrow lawsuit, they contended (correctly) that the stadium legislation requires the Vikings to pay for the parking ramp, and the city should not be selling bonds to pay for it. The city has violated both the stadium legislation and the city charter. The court could have ruled on this by simply reading the stadium legislation and agreeing or disagreeing with the plaintiffs’ interpretation. Instead, the court said that they wanted a $10 million bond before they would rule.
In the Mann lawsuit, Doug asked the appellate court to issue a writ of mandamus to order Judge Bush to issue a writ of mandamus to tell the City Council to follow the law. The issue here was a simple constitutional issue, “Can a local charter be overridden by a special law, and can this override be ‘inferred’ when it is not done explicitly?” Here again, the court decided not to rule on the issue, but to tell a non-lawyer pro-se petitioner that they had appealed it with the wrong kind of motion.
In the Mann + Tilsen suit before the Minnesota Supreme Court, again the issue was a simple constitutional one: “Can the City of Minneapolis use its tax dollars to pay bonds sold by the state?” Again, the state did not rule on the issue, although it was clear. They ruled that they did not have jurisdiction, a ruling that is contradicted by other cases.
I would love to believe that we live in a society governed by the rule of law. That elected officials, their appointed attorneys and administrative and policy-making staff and the judicial officials care about the law and follow it. I would much prefer to believe that powerful people and the extremely wealthy cannot and do not fleece the public for their profit, ego, entertainment and careers.
But, at least in this instance, our government has failed us; there is no doubt in my mind. This whole thing stinks. The state government has excrement all over itself.
So what can we do?
Minneapolis will be paying these bonds for 30 years. In every legislative session, starting this year, we must ask our legislators to make this right. Minneapolis taxpayers should not have this burden. The FLA’s platform for this year includes an 8% excise tax on Vikings tickets to help pay for the $150 million construction costs plus the $7.5 million a year for maintenance and police protection for which we have no revenue stream. The total cost to Minneapolis taxpayers over 30 years will probably be in excess of $890 million.
The Metropolitan Sports Facility Authority (MSFA or Stadium Authority) is the body that will spend our tax dollars to build the stadium and maintain it. The City Council and the State Legislature must manage this Authority. The Authority has not gotten off to a stellar beginning. The Authority started spending money before it had secured the financing. When this embarrassing fact was revealed, instead of punishing management for this poor decision, the chair was given a $25,000 raise, making her salary over $125,000 a year.
Our City Council and our State Legislature have a responsibility to ask the Authority why it has made these decisions, and they must make those answers available to the taxpayers. I would also urge them to continue to monitor the Authority. There is always the danger that the slimy business practices of the New Jersey racketeer (as defined by a New Jersey judge) who owns the Vikings will rub off on us, his partners.

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