Former Supreme Court chief justice to lead Minnesota stadium authority

Gov. Mark Dayton has named former Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice Kathleen Blatz as interim chair of the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority. The appointment follows last week’s resignations of former MSFA chairwoman Michele Kelm-Helgen and executive director Ted Mondale amid controversy over the misuse of luxury suites at Minnesota Vikings games and concerts.

“I am honored to continue my service to the MSFA and the people of Minnesota as interim chair,” Blatz said in a statement. “The MSFA plays an important role in the operation and oversight of U.S. Bank Stadium, and I look forward to continuing to work for our citizens and with MSFA board members to ensure the excellent functioning of this important public facility.”

Even before the MSFA leadership resignations, the writing was on the wall. Minnesota lawmakers were already working to overhaul the stadium authority --  trying to remove some of the governor's influence and giving the legislature more oversight.

The shake-up began last month when a state audit revealed almost half of the tickets to luxury suites intended for marketing purposes were actually given to family and friends of board members.

A reform bill will impose strict rules for the use of luxury suites and expand the board from 5 to 7 members. Future chairs will elected from within the MSFA board itself.