Dayton ‘deeply concerned’ about ruling in Wilf case

Gov. Mark Dayton is urging further scrutiny into the stadium deal following the news that Mark and Zygi Wilf have lost a big real estate court case in New Jersey. His deputy chief of staff, Bob Hume, just put out this statement:

“I am deeply concerned by the Judge’s findings that the Wilf family committed fraud, breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty; violated New Jersey’s civil racketeering statute; and presented untruthful and inaccurate financial statements. Those practices are far from the legal standards for doing business in Minnesota.

The Court’s findings pertain to a case that is unrelated to the agreement negotiated last year with the Wilfs and the Vikings. However, since the Stadium Authority has not yet signed the final agreement, I would urge the Board to have its legal counsel assure them and the people of Minnesota that all of the representations made by the team and its owners are truthful and accurate.”

A judge in New Jersey ruled against the Wilf brothers earlier this week, saying the two had systematically cheated their partners in a 764-unit apartment building in Montville, N.J.

"The bad faith and evil motive were demonstrated in the testimony of Zygi Wilf himself," Superior Court Judge Deanne Wilson said, adding the Wilfs hadn't fulfilled the "barest minimum" of their pledges as partners in the deal. "I do not believe I have seen one single financial statement that is true and accurate."

Officially, she ruled that Zygi Wilf, his brother Mark and cousin Leonard committed fraud, breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty and violated New Jersey's civil racketeering law.

The news comes as the Vikings and the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority are negotiating the final terms of a use agreement -- essentially the stadium lease -- for the new facility the state agreed to build last year. Taxpayers are also financing $348 million of the $975 million project. The Vikings agreed in 2012 to pay $477 million of the deal.

"This is a private business matter and involves a business dispute," Vikings vice president of public affairs Lester Bagley told the Associated Press yesterday. "But it will not impact the Vikings or the stadium project."

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