Lester Bagley and the Spiders From Mars

Apologies to David Bowie:

Zygi played for time, jiving us that we were voodoo:

The Vikings stadium project encountered fresh problems on Friday when an attorney for the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority revealed that team owners Zygi and Mark Wilf have refused to prove they can pay their share.

The Wilfs have been embroiled in a New Jersey lawsuit where a judge found that they had systematically defrauded their partners on a real estate project there. The Minnesota sports authority has since called for an independent audit of the Wilfs.

In a statement released Friday afternoon, attorney Peter Carter, of Dorsey & Whitney, said that despite “multiple requests” for such information, the Wilfs had, to date, “refused to provide us with any personal financial information that our advisers need to obtain comfort that the New Jersey court case will not impact their ability to meet their financial obligations.”

The kid was just crass, he was the nazz

Meanwhile, the New Jersey judge who had already ruled against the Wilfs on Friday again lashed out at Zygi Wilf for the way the books were kept on a New Jersey development.

After “almost 20 years as a litigator and almost 17 years as a judge, much of it doing business litigation, [I’ve] never seen an entity run like this,” New Jersey Superior Court Judge Deanne Wilson said of the Wilfs’ business practices.

With God given ass

Carter’s statement came in the wake of earlier remarks by Vikings spokesman Lester Bagley, who said the team was cooperating fully with the review and producing all requested documents.

That, Carter said in the statement, was “simply not true.” The people of Minnesota, he said, “deserve to know that the team can finance their part of the stadium construction budget — without delay.”

Bagley, contacted on Friday evening, said that “it’s not productive to engage in this kind of back and forth with the MSFA. The Vikings stand behind our comments from earlier today.”

 He took it all too far but boy could he play guitar

The Vikings are responsible for $477 million of the $975 million stadium, with the state and city of Minneapolis paying the rest. Kelm-Helgen and the authority hired Dorsey & Whitney to comb through the lawsuit, the Wilfs’ background and finances in a process known as “due diligence.”

Bagley said after the authority meeting that the team was cooperating fully with the review and producing all requested documents. But, he said, it’s a barrier to negotiations with the authority.

“The due-diligence inquiry is having a negative impact on the negotiations on those fundamental documents,” Bagley said, adding that the Wilfs — who have not commented publicly on the New Jersey case — are disappointed that the New Jersey suit has become an issue.

“I think they’re remorseful that this has taken away the energy and excitement that is building for the stadium,” Bagley said.

So come on, come on, we’ve really got a good thing going
Well come on, well come on, if you think we’re gonna make it
You better hang on to yourself

“We ought to slide the documents across the table … the way we want them resolved, and say, ‘Sign them, that’s our deal,’ ” said authority member and Target Corp. executive John Griffith. A delay, he said, could result in additional costs that would be the responsibility of the public, even though it is the team’s outside business interests that triggered the new investigation.

We can’t dance, we don’t talk much, we just ball and play
But then we move like tigers on vaseline

Vaseline Dome, that is.

In the public comment period, the authority heard from Chuck Turchick of Minneapolis. He pointed out that government and Vikings officials have been wrong about financial predictions before, including the ability of new electronic pulltabs to finance the state’s share.

“And now we have a situation where all the decisionmakers plead ignorance about a 21-year-old lawsuit that any reasonable due-diligence would have uncovered,” Turchick said. He called on the authority to release the details of the new investigation. “The public needs to see this data if they are to have any faith in this process,” he said.

We’ve got five years, what a surprise
We’ve got five years, stuck on my eyes
We’ve got five years, my brain hurts a lot
Five years, that’s all we’ve got

Cross-posted and comments welcome at Mr. Dilettante’s Neighborhood.