NFL: Vikings Owners Ordered to Pay $84.5 M Over Real Estate Fraud

Minnesota Vikings owners Zygi and Mark Wilf as well as their cousin Leonard were all ordered to pay $84.5 million over a real estate fraud case in New Jersey which transpired in the 1980s,

Sep 24 2013, 12:05am CDT | by

NFL: Vikings Owners Ordered to Pay $84.5 M Over Real Estate Fraud
Photo Credit: Getty Images

Minnesota Vikings owners Zygi and Mark Wilf as well as their cousin Leonard Wilf will soon be $84.5 million poorer. 

Corey Mitchell of the Minneapolis Star Tribune writes the Wilfs were ordered by a New Jersey judge to pay the amount to their former business partners as a result of a real estate fraud case in the 1980s.  

Mitchell offered precise details of the matter. 

"The ruling covers compensatory and punitive damages to plaintiffs Josef Halpern and Ada Reichmann.

"The damages awarded Monday did not include requests for more than $16 million in plaintiff's attorney and accounting fees, which could push the damages awarded to more than $100 million." 

Judge Deanne Wilson ruled that the Wilfs committed fraud, breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty. They were also determined to have violated New Jersey's racketeering laws. 

Halpern's lawyer, Alan Lebensfeld, said,"What the Wilfs did in this case was abominable. They are sophisticated businessmen and they took advantage of my client." 

Shelby Capacio of My Fox 9 of Minneapolis-St. Paul points out that Zgyi Wilf, whom Judge Wilson determined to have demonstrated "bad faith and evil motive" in the Associated Press report, was ordered to shoulder 60 percent of the penalty, which comes down to an estimated $50 million. She also adds New Jersey state law requires the case be processed for a criminal investigation

Her report also indicates the Wilfs' lawyers do not agree with the ruling and plan to file an appeal, which takes two to three years to process. 

Regarding the $84.5 million lawsuit's impact on a new stadium for the Vikings which is slated for groundbreaking in November 2016, Mitchell cites an audit conducted in early September 2013 reveals "The Wilfs have enough money to cover their share, roughly $477 million." 

The Wilfs' attorney, Peter Harvey, did not divulge details of his clients' reaction when they found out about the lawsuit. He also added funding for the new stadium will not be affected regardless of Judge Wilson's decision. 

"The good news here, aside from the fact we believe this decision will not stand on appeal, is nothing that the judge has decided will impact stadium construction." 

In spite of their team's owners getting slapped with a huge lawsut, Vikings fans can still be satisfied with the status of their new stadium.



Poch de la Rosa follows all major U.S. sports: NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL and the NCAA. His favorite teams are the Colts, Braves, Pacers, Sharks and Irish, respectively.


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