Minn. Supreme Court dismisses Vikings stadium suit

Both the legal challenges to Vikings stadium funding filed by Doug Mann have been thrown out by Minnesota courts, clearing the way for a bond sale to fund the project. MPR Photo/Tim Nelson

The Minnesota Supreme Court has thrown out a legal challenge to the state's financing plan for a new Vikings stadium.

An order issued this afternoon dismissed former Minneapolis mayoral candidate Doug Mann's request to block the sale of $468 million in bonds to finance the stadium's construction.

The court said Mann can't appeal to the Supreme Court first, and that a proper challenge, called a "bond validation proceeding," hasn't been started.

"Based on the record, we hold that the petitioners have not demonstrated that they do not have an adequate remedy at law," the court wrote, referring to another legal challenge that Mann filed  -- and lost -- in Hennepin County District Court last year.

The state Court of Appeals also turned aside that challenge today. The court said Mann failed to bring a timely appeal or challenge stadium financing through proper legal channels. Mann asked a judge to order Minneapolis to put its $150 million share of stadium financing to voters last year, a request that was denied Nov. 14.

The orders appear to clear the way for the bond sale that will allow the state to pay its construction bills for January and keep construction going on the new stadium.

Gov. Mark Dayton hailed the decision in a late afternoon statement:

I want to thank the Minnesota Supreme Court for its decision to dismiss this lawsuit, and for resolving this matter so expeditiously. Although I felt it had no merit, I was extremely concerned that this lawsuit would delay the financing of the stadium, and the progress of the $400 million development adjacent to it.

Today’s decision clears the way for thousands of Minnesotans to get to work on these two important projects. I again thank the Supreme Court for its swift action on this matter.

Minnesota Management and Budget Commissioner Jim Schowalter said in an emailed statement that he's pleased with the quick ruling from the court.

In combination with the Court of Appeals ruling, the path to permanent financing of the stadium is more clear.  As a result, MMB and the state’s financial team are turning to selling the necessary bonds to keep the Stadium project on track and allow the Stadium Authority to make timely payments on construction and land acquisition agreements.

Doug Mann, reached late Tuesday, said he was not surprised at the Minnesota Supreme Court's decision.  He also said he still believes the arguments his case made were strong.  Nevertheless, he said "this is probably it.

"I don’t think it very likely the Supreme Court will agree to review this. Spending the $550 might be throwing money out the window," Mann said.

Check back to Stadium Watch for more updates.

Here's the Supreme Court order:

Heres' the Appeals Court order:

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