Appomattox Courthouse (
by Steve Timmer
Jan 22, 2014, 3:00 PM

Free at last! Free at last!

The Viking stadium is litigation-free today – Michele Kelm-Helgen

And channeling Martha Stewart, Kelm-Helgen said, That’s a good thing.

The quote is reported in a Pioneer Press story on Wednesday, January 22nd. No guarantees about later in the week, though. There was a lot of high-fiving about the Supreme Court’s per curiam decision to dismiss the lawsuit over the unconstitutionality of the stadium financing, the part involving the Minneapolis “contribution” especially.

From the same PP story:

“Although I felt it had no merit, I was extremely concerned that this lawsuit would delay the financing of the stadium, and the progress of the $400 million development adjacent to it,” Dayton said.

Sorry you felt that way, Governor. It is a shame you weren’t vindicated by the Supreme Court. Yes, the suit by Linda and Doug Mann and David Tilsen, trying to prohibit the sale of the first tranche of stadium bonds, was dismissed.

The high fivers would have you believe that Doug Mann surrendered his sword to the stadium forces at Appomattox Courthouse. What the Supreme Court really said, though, was Sorry Doug, wrong courthouse. The original jurisdiction (the court where it should have started) for a suit raising this issue is the district court.

The petitioners’ remedy, if any, said the court, is in an action at law in the district court, not for a special writ in the Supreme Court.

The suit was dismissed on jurisdictional grounds; the dismissal has no res judicata effect on the petitioners here or anybody else, for that matter.

Well, what the heck? A win’s a win, right?

But the thing is, now everyone is aware that this issue about the collection of tax revenue for spending by another authority is out there, and it hangs like a pall over the bond issue, even without the suit, because, again, the court did not decide the case on the merits.

This, in turn, may affect what the bond lawyers say in their opinion — it probably should — and the issue may be an exception to the opinion. That will affect how much money is raised from the bond sale, because any additional risk will be priced into what the bonds will fetch.

Remember, these are revenue bonds, not general obligation bonds, and with the etabs not exactly pulling their weight, investors are probably already skittish.

Update: On re-reading this, there are some strained and not entirely apt metaphors floating around. However, it’s written and published, so there it is. No sense trying to take it back, anyway.

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