Vikings’ Owners To Appeal Court Order To Pay $84.5M
A New Jersey judge ordered Zygi, Mark, and Leonard Wilf—the three principal owners of the Minnesota Vikings—to pay damages to a former real estate partner they were accused of defrauding.
The fine—which totals $84.5 million—includes $36 million in punitive damages and roughly $48 million in compensatory damages, according to a MPR report.
The ruling stems from a real estate dispute dating back to the 1980s. Ada Reichmann of Toronto, Canada, and Josef Halpern of Brooklyn, New York, accused the Wilfs of cheating them out of their share of profits after construction of a 764-unit Montville, New Jersey, apartment building was completed, the Pioneer Press reported. The decision, which was handed down by Superior Court Judge Deanne Wilson, accuses the Wilfs of committing fraud, breach of contract, and violating New Jersey's civil racketeering laws.
Zygi Wilf was assigned to pay 60 percent of the punitive damages “because the judge found that Zygi directed and orchestrated the wrongful conduct,” Halpern’s attorney Alan Lebensfeld told the St. Paul newspaper. Meanwhile, Zygi’s brother Mark and his cousin Leonard were ordered to pay 20 percent each in damages.
Shep Guryan, one of the Wilfs’ attorneys, called the finding an error and said that he expected that the Wilfs will win in an appeal, according to MPR. Additionally, Peter Harvey, another attorney for the Wilfs, told the Pioneer Press that the New Jersey decision wouldn’t affect the Vikings stadium plan.
“The stadium will be built and there will be an opening kickoff long before this case is ultimately decided by the appellate division and ultimately, if necessary, the New Jersey Supreme Court,” Harvey told the newspaper.