Proposed law restricts MSFA's use of US Bank Stadium suites

Minnesota state lawmakers are considering sweeping changes to the board that oversees U.S. Bank Stadium. The proposed changes come after a state audit investigating how luxury suites were being used by the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority.

Controversy over the use of suites at U.S. Bank Stadium for Minnesota Vikings games and major concerts has lawmakers looking to tighten control over the very group tasked with overseeing the stadium. H.F. 778 would specifically limit who can use the suites, for what purpose, and how often.

The MSFA reform bill passed the Government Operations Committee on Tuesday on a 17-1 vote. The bill now heads to the Government Finance Committee.

Audit revelations

At a hearing about the use of two suites at U.S. Bank Stadium lawmakers were surprised to learn the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority actually controls a third  VIP seating area, called a Cabin.

The Cabin is part of extra space the Vikings paid an additional $8.5 million to develop, but lawmakers said they had no idea the MSFA was paying the Vikings $300,000 for the next 5 years to lease the space and sell tickets to non-football events.

What would change?

The proposed changes to the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority would increase the number of seats on the authority from 5 to 7 and change who would appoint them. But the biggest change would limit how the suites are used and that use would have to comply with open meeting laws.

If approved by the Legislature and signed by the governor, a change in state law would also allow the state recover the costs associated with food, parking, tickets and use of stadium suites accrued prior to Jan. 1, 2017.

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