Michele Kelm-Helgen, the chair of the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority, has announced her resignation.
The MSFA oversees the operation of U.S. Bank Stadium, home to the Minnesota Vikings, and has come under fire from Minnesota legislators for their use of suites at the stadium, with an investigation showing that many of the suites were used to host family and friends of MSFA workers instead of regularly hosting potential decision-makers that would rent the stadium for future events.
“The ongoing discussion on the use of MSFA suites has become a distraction to marketing the stadium,” Kelm-Helgen said in a statement announcing her resignation Thursday morning. “If I could go back and start over again, MSFA would have had a public discussion on the use of these suites and forbid the use of them by family and friends from the start. When questions about the suites use were raised, MSFA took responsibility, and then passed and implemented a new policy in December that no longer allows family and friends in the suites.”
Kelm-Helgen said she believes the legislature wants to make changes in the governance structure of the stadium authority that go beyond the recommendations included in the Legislative Auditor’s report and that “their proposal also fails to hold all publicly-owned and operated sports venues to the same set of standards.”
She said she believes she has become the focus of legislative discussions and wants to “remove myself from this discussion.”
“I want to extend my heartfelt gratitude to the people of Minnesota for allowing me to serve you in delivering a world-class stadium that Minnesotans will enjoy and benefit from for decades to come,” she said. “Lastly, I want to thank the Governor for entrusting me with this enormous responsibility, and for the work we have done together to achieve these significant accomplishments.
U.S. Bank Stadium will host Super Bowl 52 next February, the Men’s Final Four and the 2017 and 2018 X Games.
(The video above is from July 2016.)