The Vikings stadium deal that Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton signed into law Monday involves plenty of public participation, but it also prevents the public from getting a look at the team’s finances during their partnership to build the $975 million stadium.
The law commits the state and City of Minneapolis to pay a combined $498 million, while the team will contribute $477 million from private sources.
One provision would shield “any financial information” about the team from public eyes. Critics say the blanket protection goes beyond current state law, leaving taxpayers in the dark on one of the state’s biggest public works projects. Minnesota law already allows businesses that get state money to avoid disclosing trade secrets, business plans, tax returns and other financial data.
“We now have the largest public commitment in the state’s history in an agreement with the Vikings, and we have an unprecedented lack of disclosure,” said Rep. Mary Liz Holberg, who voted against the stadium bill. “I just think that sunshine in government is good, and in exchange for nearly half a billion dollars in public commitment, there should be some sunshine on the other side of the ledger.”
The NFL players’ union’s grievance against the league in the Saints bounties scandal will be heard Wednesday.
The union claims commissioner Roger Goodell doesn’t have the authority to hand out discipline for player conduct that occurred before the current collective bargaining agreement was finalized last August. The players argue that a CBA arbitrator, and not Goodell, has the right to decide player punishment under such circumstances, as well as rule on any appeals.
Free agent running back Tim Hightower has re-signed with the Redskins. The 25-year-old Hightower rushed for 321 yards on 84 carries in five games last season before going on injured reserve with a torn ligament in his left knee. … The Rams would like to make the Edward Jones Dome a more attractive destination for a Super Bowl, calling for more and reconfigured seating and improvements including a roof panel that could be opened slightly to allow more natural light. … Injured Eagles left tackle Jason Peters has ruptured his right Achilles tendon for the second time this offseason, a league source said. Peters was injured when the vehicle he was using to maneuver following surgery broke and Peters tumbled face first and re-injured the Achilles. … Wayne Nunnely, one of the premiere defensive line coaches in the NFL, is retiring after 17 seasons, the past three with the Denver Broncos. … Southern California authorities are searching the countryside near the city of Simi Valley for former player Erik Affholter, who was reported to have failed to return from a day hike. The 46-year-old Affholter was a standout wide receiver at Southern California in the 1980s and went on to play for Green Bay in 1991.