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Vikings stadium battle moves to state supreme court

New Minnesota Vikings stadium

A legal battle over bonding for a new Minnesota Vikings stadium, which will also host college and high-school baseball, reached the Minnesota Supreme Court.

Three Minneapolis residents — none of them a lawyer — filed suit to stop the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority from selling bonds to build the new stadium, set to open in 2016. They argued that voters should have approved city spending on the stadium: the city has an ordinance that requires any stadium spending over $10 million be put to voters.

In response, the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority suspended the bond sale and From the Star Tribune:

In court filings, the Manns and Tilsen said they absolutely have a right to lodge their legal protest. “The state of Minnesota and its taxpayers have a vested interest in the state’s creditworthiness and the compliance of public officials with the law,” they wrote. “[We] have a right … to restrain a public official from the unlawful use of public funds.”

But the Minnesota Department of Management and Budget, the issuer of state bonds, argued in its filing that the stadium legislation does not give disgruntled citizens the “authority to determine the validity of the stadium bonds.”

The most-pungent legal commentary came from the stadium authority, which was permitted by the court to intervene in the case.

The challenge threatens “to disrupt the delicate timing of the bond issue and related transactions, creating delay and added costs, through meritless arguments that cause harm not because they are valid, but merely because they have been asserted,” the authority said in its filing.

The trio has already lost an opening round of their lawsuit and are appealing that decision; this is a second lawsuit filed directly with the Minnesota Supreme Court, which will determine whether the high court has the power to decide this decision. Among the members of the Minnesota Supreme Court: former Minnesota Vikings great Alan Page.

The stadium is set to open in 2016 as home of the Vikings, as well as the winter home of the Minnesota Golden Gophers and a neutral site for many other local college and high-school teams. It’s replacing the Metrodome in this respect; even after the move of the Minnesota Twins and the opening of a renovated Siebert Field, the Metrodome was still a very busy venue for hosting February and March Gopher games. The new stadium is being designed to accommodate the same level of spring baseball. Meanwhile, demolition of the Metrodome will come this spring, and work to remove its contents — including the seating — is well underway.

Rendering via Minnesota Vikings.

RELATED STORIES: Vikings stadium bond sale delayed; Buyers remorse in Minnesota?; Spat over financials could delay opening of new Vikings stadium; New Vikings stadium put on hold pending Wilf investigation; On the auction block: Metrodome contents; Compromise reached on baseball at new Vikings stadium; New Vikings stadium could host Gophers baseball — if the numbers work; Adios, Metrodome; One anniversary not marked by MLB this year: Metrodome opening


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