VIKINGS STADIUM: Clock ticks as bond sale stalls - KMSP-TV

VIKINGS STADIUM: Clock ticks as bond sale stalls

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) -

What was supposed to be a day of selling millions in bonds to cover the state of Minnesota's share of the new Vikings stadium was instead a day of waiting for response from the Minnesota Supreme Court.

A legal challenge in the form of a petition seeking a writ of prohibition has brought much of the stadium progress to a standstill despite a tight construction schedule.


READ: Petition for writ of prohibition


"Today and tomorrow were the days we had published and anticipated being in New York to start selling those bonds," Minnesota Budget Commissioner Jim Schowalter.

Schowalter wasn't supposed to be in his St. Paul office on Monday, but that's where Fox 9 News caught up with him now that the $486 million sale is on hold -- and officials don't know how long the delay may last.

"That's the day-to-day nature of where we're at," Schowalter explained. "We're looking for the courts to make a quick ruling, expedite consideration of the complaint up against us, and we will wait until they get through their process. That could be short, could be long."

A long delay would bring trouble for the construction schedule set inside a two-year timeline. On Sunday night, Fox 9 News spoke with the chair of the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority and learned the bond money is needed to pay for the construction bills that will come later this month.

"The opening of the stadium could be delayed if this goes on for more than a couple days," Michele Kelm-Helgen told Fox 9 News by phone. "There could be a work stoppage if we can't pay our bills, and companies won't continue to work -- and we'll potentially miss a third season where the team would play at TCF."

Furthermore, the acquisition of land in the area to develop a grand park in downtown also relies on the sale, and the deadline to close on the deal is looming.

"If we can't close on that land by Jan. 23, the whole deal with Wells Fargo, the city and the authority is jeopardized," Kelm-Helgen continued. "We absolutely can't lose a $400-million development."

Kelm-Helgen spelled out many of her concerns in a statement that can be read in full here: http://bit.ly/1aibPo2

Doug Mann, of Minneapolis, put the petition before the Minnesota Supreme Court. He argues that the funding is unconstitutional because $150 million is to be repaid using sales tax revenue from Minneapolis, which has a $10 million limit in its charter.

Mann tried the same thing in Hennepin County last fall, but the case was dismissed because the Legislature gave the city an exemption to its own rule.

It remains unknown whether the state's highest court will opt for a similar course of action. So far, the Minnesota Supreme Court has offered no hint of how quickly they'll consider the petition, but the clock is ticking loudly.

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