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Vikings stadium is corporate welfare

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 website.

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

Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with various duties since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently Director of Audience Development. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work. I'm fortunate to have made many friends, both co-workers and customers.
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