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State urges quick decision on stadium suit so work can proceed

ST. PAUL -- Minnesota officials say a trio of Minneapolis people seeking to stop construction of a Vikings stadium timed a lawsuit just before financing was to be arranged to gum up plans.

The state filed a response to the lawsuit Tuesday, urging a quick Minnesota Supreme Court decision so stadium construction can continue. Justices have asked the two sides to give them more information this week.

The state this week was to sell $468 million in bonds to partially finance a $975 million stadium in downtown Minneapolis. With the lawsuit, state officials fear that even a short delay in selling the bonds could result in a year delay of the planned 2016 opening.

Chairwoman Michelle Kelm-Helgin of the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority said her organization will be $28 million short at the end of January if the bonds are not sold.

The suit was filed by former Minneapolis mayoral candidate Douglas Mann, his wife, Linda, and former school board member David Tilsen. They claim the bond sell is unconstitutional because the Minneapolis contribution to stadium funding comes from a sales tax that they say should have received public approval before proceeding.

A judge tossed out a similar suit last year.

Some work already has started on the stadium, funded by up-front money from the Vikings. But most of that $50 million already has been spent, so the bond funds are needed soon to keep work on track.

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