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Minnesota Governor Dayton ‘Deeply Concerned’ by Wilf’s Legal Case in New Jersey

Vikings Stadium
vikings.com / HKS Sports and Entertainment

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton on Thursday urged an authority overseeing the new Vikings stadium to take extra precautions as it finalizes an agreement with the team’s New Jersey-based owners given their legal woes back home.

“deeplyconcerned” by a judge’s ruling against Zygi Wilf and his family in a fraud and breach of contract case. The judge’s ruling found that the Wilfs violated a civil racketeering law related to an apartment development deal.

“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,” he said in the statement.

The Wilfs won approval last year for a new taxpayer-aided football stadium. The Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority is hammering out final contract details with Vikings owners before construction starts.

Vikings vice president of public affairs Lester Bagley said Tuesday that any judgment will not influence the team’s payroll or the development of a new billion-dollar stadium in downtown Minneapolis that is scheduled to begin this fall.

“This is a private business matter and involves a business dispute,” Bagley said. “But it will not impact the Vikings or the stadium project.”

Superior Court Judge Deanne Wilson ruled in a 21-year legal battle Monday that brothers Zygi and Mark Wilf and their cousin, Leonard, committed fraud, breach of contract and fiduciary duty, and had violated New Jersey’s civil racketeering law.

The Wilfs were sued by partners in a 764-unit apartment complex in Montville. Ada Reichmann, of Toronto, and her brother Josef Halpern, of Brooklyn, said they were cheated out of their fair share of revenue from the project. They are seeking more than $50 million in damages.

Wilson said she will announce the rest of the ruling and the damages in the next two weeks.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

** YOU CAN EMAIL JEFF THURN AT JEFFT@ESPN991.COM AND FOLLOW HIM ON TWITTER @JTESPN991

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