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Minnesota high court dismisses lawsuit over bonds for NFL stadium

Viking Stadium
Viking Stadium

By Brendan O'Brien

(Reuters) - The Minnesota Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed a lawsuit that sought to derail a bond sale to help fund a new domed stadium in downtown Minneapolis for the National Football League's Vikings.

The lawsuit, filed on January 10, forced state officials to postpone the planned sale of $468 million of bonds starting on January 13 to help fund the replacement for the current stadium.

The state supreme court ruled that it lacked jurisdiction in the case and that the plaintiffs, a former Minneapolis mayoral candidate Douglas Mann, his wife Linda, and former city school board member David Tilsen, have other legal remedies.

The ruling noted that the plaintiffs have lawsuits pending in district court and the Minnesota Court of Appeals.

The lawsuit challenged the constitutionality of the funding plan for the 65,000-seat domed stadium project, which is estimated to cost about $975 million.

John Pollard, spokesman in the state's management and budget office, said it was unclear when the bond sale would occur.

"Although I felt it had no merit, I was extremely concerned that this lawsuit would delay the financing of the stadium," Governor Mark Dayton said in a statement.

The stadium has been scheduled to open by the start of the 2016 NFL season. Workers deflated the roof on Saturday at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, where the Vikings have played since 1982.

The publicly owned stadium is planned for the same site as the Metrodome with the Vikings as the main tenant. It also would host other events, including state high school football and soccer championships, amateur sports and concerts.

Payments on the tax-exempt and taxable bonds rely on continuing appropriations, which can be stopped or altered by the Minnesota Legislature.

(Reporting by Brendan O'Brien in Milwaukee; Additional reporting by Karen Pierog in Chicago; Editing by David Bailey)

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