ST. PAUL – The Minnesota Office of the Legislative Auditor has opened a formal investigation into control and use of certain luxury suites in the new U.S. Bank Stadium.
It recently came to light that numerous public officials had received complementary tickets to major events. Questions arose regarding incomplete or delayed reimbursements to the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority for the value of those tickets and other costs associated with viewing events from the two suites the commission controls.
“I am pleased to see the Legislative Auditor’s Office involvement in this matter,” said Rep. Dale Lueck said, R-Aitkin. “Several constituents brought this to my attention. The legislative auditor’s office is the appropriate agency to get to the bottom of exactly what the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority is doing with these free tickets and luxury suites.”
Minnesota taxpayers provided a major portion of the funding to construction the Vikings’ new home and Lueck said they have a legitimate interest in that how that facility is used. Charitable gambling revenue gathered from citizens across Minnesota is a major part of the revenue used to make the bond payments that funded the stadium construction.
To date, the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority has refused to disclose a full list of the individuals that were allowed free use of pair of stadium suites it controls. That use included free tickets, food, alcohol and special reserved parking for Vikings games and other events.
“I am confident the state auditor will shine a bright light onto what is going on here,” Lueck said. “We enjoy sports here in Minnesota, but we also expect folks to pay their own way to these kind of events in facilities the taxpayers helped pay for.”