Complaint seeks to delay stadium area development vote

Plaintiffs Dan Cohen, Paul Ostrow and Stephanie Woodruff filed a complaint and motion for a temporary injunction Wednesday in Hennepin County District Court  to prevent the Minneapolis City Council from voting on measures related to the Downtown East development project proposed near the new Vikings stadium.  The council is scheduled to vote on the measures Friday.

The plaintiffs want to delay the vote on the development until the merits of their challenge can be determined.  Here's what the plaintiffs are asking for:

1. A temporary injunction barring the City from final Council action on the project until this matter can be determined on the merits.

2. A declaratory judgment finding that the City is limited by state law to a maximum contribution in city resources for stadium costs in the amount of 150 million dollars;

3. A declaratory judgment finding that the issuance of general obligation bonds for the financing of the parking ramp required by the stadium legislation is subject to the statutory maximum of city contributions to stadium costs.

4. A declaratory judgment finding that the Minneapolis City Council does not have the authority to use general obligation bonds for the acquisition or creation of park land in the City of Minneapolis.

5. A declaratory judgment finding that the Minneapolis City Council does not have the authority to maintain or administer the proposed park.

6. The issuance of a permanent injunction barring the City Council from issuing any bonds or entering into any contracts inconsistent with the Court’s orders.

Ostrow and Cohen are former members of the Minneapolis City Council.  Woodruff is the vice chair of the city's audit committee.  Both Woodruff and Cohen ran for mayor earlier this year.

The vote on the Downtown East development project is scheduled for the last scheduled council meeting of the year.  If the injunction is successful, it could delay the vote until next year, after several new council members are sworn in.  Some of those new council members are backing Elizabeth Glidden to become the next council president.  Glidden, unlike current council president Barb Johnson, opposed the Vikings stadium funding deal.

Here's the response from city attorney Susan Segal, via spokesman Matt Laible:

We are confident in our position and we’ll be asking the court to expedite any proceedings in this case so that it can be put to rest as quickly as possible. The agreement being considered by the City Council has been very carefully assembled over many months, working closely with partners both inside government and out, to ensure that it meets all of our legal obligations and provides a significant benefit to the public. Although there are many facets to the proposed agreement because of its large scope, it uses standard financing tools that have been used by Minneapolis and other cities many times in the past.

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