Zygi Wilf, owner of the Minnesota Vikings, and other members of his family were ordered to pay $84.5 million as part of a New Jersey fraud case arising out of a real estate transaction. The judge him the case had said that the Wilfs had shown “bad faith and evil motive” in their dealings. They have also been ordered to provide financial information on his net worth as part of the case, something that has prompted an appeal and briefs on the issue.
Mike Kaszuba of the Minnesota Star-Tribune has the details on the legal briefs filed by the Wilfs. In those legal arguments, the Wilfs claim an anti-wealth bias. Among the arguments, they present claims of other isolated cases of wealthy people being targeted (or potentially targeted if information was disclosed), such as an extortion plot against film producer Harvey Weinstein.
The more eye opening argument, though related to revealing their wealth because it would disadvantage them in negotiations.
“The Wilfs’ business [rely] upon a counterparty remaining uninformed about the true financial capability of the Wilfs. A counterparty in a negotiation with the Wilfs currently does not have specific financial information and must tailor her or his discussion to ordinary market factors and consideration.”
They may be talking about some other real estate deal. However, with the public threats a year ago about moving if a stadium deal wasn’t done, and the wrangling to get public financing for a stadium (and we are already hearing about overages and “value engineering”) it is not hard to picture the taxpayers as one of the “uninformed” parties. Zygi Wilf and other owners seek public money, without providing information to the public to bolster claims about what they can pay.
“”It is the uncertainty as to the Wilfs’ precise financial position that is key to an effective negotiation,” according to the family’s court filing.