MSFA expresses confidence in Vikings finances

The Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority said its audit of the Wilfs is nearing completion and the preliminary finding is that the Vikings have the "financial capability" to uphold their end of stadium agreement.

The Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority released a statement Wednesday morning expressing its confidence in the ability of the Minnesota Vikings owners to hold up their financial end of the bargain with a new football stadium.

"We have almost all the information, both financial and legal, that we need to finalize the due diligence review," said board Chair Michele Kelm-Helgen. "While the preliminary update given to the board today shows substantial progress, Dorsey and FTI will have to wait for all of the requested information in order to complete their final report."

The MSFA hired the Dorsey and Whitney law firm to conduct an audit of the Wilf family finances after New Jersey judge Deanne Wilson ruled that the Vikings owners committed fraud and racketeering during a 1980s land development deal.

A hearing is scheduled for Monday in which Wilson could release information documenting the Wilf's net worth, something the family has reportedly been trying to keep sealed.

The stadium authority had set a Sept. 15 deadline to conduct its financial review of the Wilfs, and a final ruling on damages in the court case may not happen before then.

"Based on the information received to date, we have indications that the team will have the financial capability to move forward with the stadium project," Kelm-Helgen said. "The report will detail our due diligence process and provide findings to the Authority. We expect this report to be finalized next week and will make this public as soon as we receive it."

The Vikings have agreed to pay $477 million in the stadium project, with construction scheduled to begin in November and completion by the 2016 season.

"We continue to believe that the stadium will be built on schedule and will open in time for the 2016 season," the Vikings said in a statement issued after the MSFA's statement. "The team continues to work collaboratively with the Stadium Authority on the stadium project, and the Authority's comments today are a reflection of our partnership. We will continue to address the design and construction process, and we will work with the Authority to finalize the Use and Development Agreements."

Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.

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