You might remember the mighty, titanic struggle that Mark Dayton waged on behalf of the People, in order that he might spend at least half a billion dollars we don't have to build Zygmunt Wilf and his associates a new pleasure palace. It was in all the papers.
Now the Governor is apparently upset with the Vikings for acting like all NFL teams act:
Gov. Mark Dayton on Tuesday threatened to undo the historic and hard-fought deal to build a new Minnesota Vikings stadium if team owners insist on passing on to fans a portion of the team's share of the $975 million cost.
In a sternly worded letter to the team owners, the governor objected to a proposal to charge seat-licensing fees in exchange for premier seating choices, a move that could mean big-spenders boot longtime season-ticket holders to less desirable seats.
Fans of average means supported the stadium, "not just rich Minnesotans, because they believed the Vikings are also their team," Dayton wrote. "If a new stadium were to betray that trust, it would be better that it not be built." Dayton said he could urge lawmakers to open the contract to remove the option of seat licenses.
It's hardly surprising that the Vikings were quick to remind Dayton that he and his legislative pals gave the Vikings Wilf a green light to pursue seat licenses:
The team owners stood their ground on the issue, saying that seat licensing was included in the final agreement passed by the Legislature.
"Stadium builder's licenses were vetted by the Legislature, testified to by Vikings and state of Minnesota negotiators, and most importantly, specifically reflected in the stadium legislation that was passed and signed by the governor," the team said.
How do I put this? I'm going to try to be as delicate as possible. Mark Dayton is a moron. It gets worse, of course:
The stadium financing legislation approved last spring stipulates that revenue generated from the seat licenses would go toward the Vikings' share of the construction cost. The state and city of Minneapolis are contributing $498 million to stadium construction, with the team picking up the remainder through an NFL loan, stadium naming rights, sponsorships and, possibly, licensing fees.
Emphasis mine. A lot of us tried to explain this to anyone who would listen, not that anyone was listening. The game has always been this -- the NFL business model is that the teams get new stadiums without, whenever possible, having skin in the game. And it doesn't matter what Dayton thinks now -- this has always been the deal. If the Vikings Wilfs had any real responsibility for the cost of their new pleasure dome, the deal would not have been done.
What's even more pathetic? Consider this statement from our shrewd negotiator:
Dayton told the Wilfs in his letter that, "I am greatly distressed by these developments and the future they portend. We negotiated in good faith. Not surprisingly, given the project's magnitude and complexity, some details were not fully understood and some differences still remain. They must be resolved consistent with Minnesota standards and values."
Again, emphasis mine. You have to love the passive voice in that statement. "Some details were not fully understood," huh? Not to put too fine a point on it, but it's your responsibility to know what's in an agreement before you sign it, Governor. You were had, huh? Governor Mark is an easy mark, apparently.
Meanwhile, Dayton is back to the one thing that's always been a hallmark of his career -- grandstanding.
"I strongly oppose shifting any part of the team's responsibility for those costs onto Minnesota Vikings fans," Dayton wrote in his letter to Vikings owners Zygi and Mark Wilf. "This private contribution is your responsibility. Not theirs. I said this new stadium would be a 'People's Stadium,' not a 'Rich People's Stadium.' I meant it then, and I mean it now."
Let's cut to the chase here. No one, least of all the Wilfs, gives a flying fig what you meant, then or now. The deal is in place and you signed it into law, Governor. They saw you coming a mile away.
Cross-posted and comments welcome at Mr. Dilettante's Neighborhood.