Five months into its usage, the U.S. Bank Stadium, and its suites has been under fire with allegations of misuse. Officials of the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority (MSFA) undergoes an audit inquiry to flush out the truth.
According to Star Tribune, Legislative Auditor Jim Nobles launches a “priority” investigation on alleged misuse of state property. Nobles added that they are looking at how the MSFA controls the use of the suites in the stadium. It is the largest public-private partnership in state’s history with $800 million coming from taxpayers’ money.
Details still confidential
Nobles stressed that even the legislature will not see his report after he finalizes and publicized them. He aims in finishing the inquiry by mid-January before the start of the session in the legislature.
The inquiry stems from reports about the misuse of the suites by people close to MSFA officials and their family members. With the report, incoming Senate Finance Chairwoman Julie Rosen wants the list of names with Gov. Mark Dayton releasing it.
Rosen stated that the Minnesota State Government and officials of the MSFA are trying to hide something to the public. She insists they show to the public the names of those who visited and used the suites. Rosen stressed that revealing the names would bring “accountability” and “credibility” to the MSFA as an institution.
However, Dayton defended MSFA chairwoman Michele Kelm-Helgen and executive director Ted Mondale saying it got used for “legitimate transactions.” Both Kelm-Helgen and Mondale explained that were in talks to potential clients wanting to rent the venue.
No Guest Names Released
Kelm-Helgen and Mondale explained that business transactions made inside the suites are kept private and are bound by state law. Both MSFA officials stated as mandated by state law, they could not just give out the names of their guests.
The MSFA officials further stated that they could only give out the names of staff, commissioners, and individuals who attended as “guests.” But only those who were in support of a marketing activity and not those they had business transactions with.
MSFA officials welcome the investigation and promised to cooperate with it. The U.S. Bank Stadium is a fixed-roof stadium home of the Minnesota Vikings and the Minnesota Golden Gophers Baseball Team (NCAA).
Photo Courtesy: Darb02/Creative Commons