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Home / News / The Capitol Note: MSFA, Vikings sign stadium construction deal
Vikings owner Zygi Wilf said the extra $26 million was meant to "ensure several features that are so important to all users of the stadium."

The Capitol Note: MSFA, Vikings sign stadium construction deal

Zygi Wilf

Zygi Wilf said the Vikings $26 million line of credit would ensure the inclusion of certain features. (file photo: Peter Bartz-Gallagher)

1.) The Minnesota Vikings and the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority (MSFA) announced the signing of a final construction deal with Mortenson Co. on Friday morning. The agreement sets the guaranteed maximum price figure at $763 million, and the Vikings agreed to set aside an additional line of credit for $26.4 million in case of cost overruns. In a statement accompanying the announcement, Vikings owner Zygi Wilf said the extra $26 million  was meant to “ensure several features that are so important to all users of the stadium.” Those features apparently include some aspects that will require the import of iron ore from Luxembourg, where the construction team will contract to bring in extra-strength steel. That provision upsets former long-term Iron Range legislator Tom Rukavina, who told the Associated Press that the possible boon to Minnesota mining projects was part of the reason some lawmakers supported the stadium bill in the first place.

2.) DFL U.S. Sen. Al Franken has offered provisional support for the notion of delaying the individual mandate to purchase insurance under the Affordable Care Act, Minnesota Public Radio reports. On Friday, Franken said continued problems with the website could make the requirement an unfair one to consumers whose registration has been hampered by the deeply flawed technology. But while some Democrats have called for pushing the back the mandate an entire year — which, it’s worth recognizing, would extend its implementation beyond the date of the 2014 elections — Franken’s thinking is a more moderate delay of “maybe a month,” which he thinks is sufficient for customers to catch up once the website is fully functional. The incumbent’s utterance was not lost on GOP opponent Mike McFadden, who in short order issued a press release critical of Franken’s wait-and-see approach. “Hope is not a strategy,” McFadden said. “Wishing this disaster away is not leadership.”

3.) On a related note, the struggle to pitch competing narratives over the MNsure insurance exchange continued on Friday. Four Republican lawmakers banded together to continue that party’s public letter-writing campaign expressing concern over the exchange’s functionality and operation. In this instance, it was GOP Reps. Joe Hoppe (Chaska) and Tara Mack (Apple Valley) and Sens. Sean Nienow  (Cambridge) and Michelle Benson (Ham Lake) who directed a letter to Gov. Mark Dayton and MNsure executive director April Todd-Malmlov asking for a more detailed update of how many Minnesotans are truly set to receive insurance coverage through MNsure as of Jan. 1, 2014, among other queries. The legislators, all members of the MNsure Legislative Oversight Committee, said their letter is a necessary move to obtain information because that panel does not have plans to meet again during this calendar year. The Republicans said uncertainty on the part of consumers is causing “undue stress on Minnesota families.” MNsure, for its part, announced a new partnership intended to help with marketing and outreach efforts. The exchange will distribute MNsure information through Cub Food stores throughout the state, with multilingual brochures available in the grocery store’s pharmacy section.


  • First-term Rep. Jay McNamar, DFL-Elbow Lake, has an early Republican challenger in House District 12A. Nancy Taffe of Morris registered her candidacy with the campaign finance board late last week. McNamar, a former teacher, won one of the narrowest victories in the 2012 election, winning  47.5 percent of the district vote — a third-party candidate claimed 6 percent — to take the seat formerly held by Sen. Torrey Westrom, R-Elbow Lake.
  • Nancy Hylden of Faegre Baker Daniels is on retainer for Blue & White Taxi as of last week. Hylden is the local cab company’s only advocate on record.
  • Lobbyist Sarah Janecek has registered to advocate on behalf of Caribou coffee shop franchise that operates out of the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport. It’s the only current client on record for Janecek, former publisher of Politics in Minnesota, and she becomes that Caribou branch’s first lobbyist.
  • The Department of Veterans Affairs is hiring a clerical worker in its benefits department. The employee would be charged with handling the department’s payment system, and would fill in as the office receptionist on occasion. One year of administrative support work is required, and some familiarity with the veterans benefits system is preferred. The job comes with an annual salary between $29,000 and $38,000. More information at the state jobs board website.
  • Metro Cities, the Twin Cities-area municipal advocacy organization, is hiring for a government relations internship that would start in January and run for up to six months. The intern would be tasked with bill tracking, policy and legislative research, copywriting and updating the group’s website. The position is paid between $10.00-$15.00 per hour, and is full-time. Email resume and cover letter to Laurie Jennings at [email protected] the application deadline is Dec. 12.


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