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Vikings owners ordered to pay $84.5 million in fraud case

Sept. 24, 2013 at 1:11 AM

MORRISTOWN, N.J., Sept. 24 (UPI) -- Minnesota Vikings owners Zygi and Mark Wilf were fined $84.5 million by a New Jersey judge Monday in a business fraud judgment.

The Wilfs, who are preparing for the groundbreaking of a new $975 million Vikings stadium in downtown Minneapolis, were levied the fine by New Jersey Superior Court Judge Deanne Wilson after she found they had defrauded two former real estate partners, the (Minneapolis) Star Tribune reported.

Wilson ruled the pair, as well as their cousin Leonard Wilf, committed fraud, breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty in the case originally brought in 1992 by plaintiffs Josef Halpern and Ada Reichmann.

They accused the Wilfs -- who have extensive commercial and residential real estate holdings across the country -- of defrauding them of their rightful earnings in a 1980s real estate deal, the newspaper reported.

The case sparked fears the Wilfs wouldn't be able to pay their $477 million share of the new stadium, but an audit by the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority found the fine won't affect their ability to finance the deal.

Some $200 million of the Wilfs' share is being covered by an NFL loan as well as through stadium naming rights and other fees.

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