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Vikings stadium is corporate welfare

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opinion Brainerd, 56401
Brainerd MN 506 James St. / PO Box 974 56401

Minnesotans love the Vikings. That’s a fact. However, the Vikings franchise is owned by a billionaire from New Jersey — one Zygmunt “Zygi” Wilf. Wilf’s net worth is between $310 million, as reported by Sports Illustrated, and $1.3 billion, according to the Democratic Underground.com website.

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The owner of Garden Homes and Garden Commercial Properties in New Jersey bought the Vikings from billionaire Billy Joe “Red” McCombs, a San Antonio car dealer for a measly $600 million. That was a profit of $350 million for the San Antonio car dealer.

To the point: the Vikings want a new stadium. It seems as though the state is ready to hand out a boat load of cash to prevent the Vikings from picking up and moving the franchise elsewhere.

Wilf is ready to contribute $425 million (with a portion of that total coming from the National Football League), with the state of Minnesota kicking in $350 million and the folks living in the highly taxed city of Minneapolis expected to contribute $336 million. All of this financial maneuvering is in an effort to build the Vikings a billion-dollar-plus stadium on the site of the Mall of America Field.

If a billionaire wants the good folks of Minnesota (no general fund taxes are to be used) to fork over $350 million and the working stiffs of Minneapolis to chip in another $336 million, I ask you what’s wrong with this picture?

Once again, a billionaire wants roughly $686 million taxpayer dollars and in his spirit of generosity he will throw in $425 million, with the aid of the NFL giving an estimated $200 million of that to the Wilfs to build a new stadium.

Wouldn’t the taxpayer contributions from the state and city of Minneapolis be considered corporate welfare? Yes, I think so and in a stagnant economy, is that the way we want our tax dollars spent? I don’t believe a billionaire should ask working people to fork over hundreds of millions so he can sell his franchise for millions more than the $600 million he paid Red McCombs.

—Keith Hansen

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