Vikings Stadium Bond Suit Thrown Out by Minnesota Court

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Minnesota's top court threw out a legal challenge to the planned sale of $468 million in bonds to help pay for a new stadium for the National Football League's Vikings.

The state supreme court said in an order issued Tuesday that it lacked jurisdiction to hear the lawsuit filed by three Minneapolis residents on Jan. 10.

Led by one-time Minneapolis mayoral candidate Doug Mann, the petitioners said the stadium plan unconstitutionally relied upon city sales taxes to pay the bond debt. Minnesota postponed a sale scheduled for Jan. 13 after the challenge was filed.

The statute under which Mann and the others sued "does not confer original jurisdiction on the court to resolve all challenges to legislation authorizing the use of appropriation bonds," six members of the court said in an unsigned ruling. The court's seventh member, former Vikings defensive tackle Alan Page, didn't participate in the case.

The justices said the residents could file a lower-court case raising a constitutional challenge to a matter involving taxation, without expressing an opinion on whether such a claim could be successfully litigated. A suit filed by Mann against the Minneapolis City Council was rejected by a lower court in November and again yesterday by a three-judge panel on the state's intermediate-level Court of Appeals.

'Further Action'

"I will consider my appeal options in the lawsuit against the city, decide whether to take further action within a few days," Mann said Tuesday in an emailed statement.

"Given the stance taken by the Supreme Court on the writ of prohibition, and amazingly quick action by both the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals, a request for review by the Supreme Court seems unlikely to be granted," he said.

The constitutionality of the laws authorizing the sale wasn't at all addressed, he said.

In asking the Supreme Court for a dismissal last week, Jim Schowalter, commissioner of the state's Department of Management and Budget, said there was no constitutional violation.

"MMB and the state's financial team are turning to selling the necessary bonds to keep the stadium project on track and all the Stadium Authority to make timely payments on construction and land acquisition agreements," Schowalter said in a statement issued after yesterday's rulings.

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