Family and business at Vikings stadium

Officials with the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority say they’re still not sure who should design their new stadium. But they DID draft another key player in the stadium endgame today: a pair of law firms and a general counsel to handle legal matters.

The general counsel, Jay Lindgren, hails from Dorsey and Whitney, one of Minnesota’s most prominent firms.

20101123_7mondale112210.jpgDorsey’s list of attorneys also happens to include Walter Mondale, the former vice president — and father of the MSFA’s executive director, Ted Mondale.

MSFA chairwoman, Michele Kelm-Helgen, said the pick doesn’t represent a conflict because the elder Mondale doesn’t stand to gain from the contract with the authority. “I’m not sure what his exact relationship is with the firm, but he’s not an active partner… This contract going to the Dorsey firm doesn’t in any way impact Ted or his father,” Kelm-Helgen said in an interview. “There’s clearly no conflict.”

For his part, Lindgren, the authority’s new lawyer, is no stranger to the Mondales, either. He served as regional administrator for the Met Council during Ted Mondale’s stint there as the council’s chair. Lindgren is also a former North Dakota state legislator.

The MSFA also hired Fabyanske, Westra, Hart & Thomson, P.A. as legal counsel for new stadium construction.

A release by the authority explains the picks thusly:

The law firms were a unanimous recommendation by review committee comprised of Hammes Company, Mike Green of Madison, Wisc.-based Michael Best Law Firm, MSFA members John Griffith and Bill McCarthy, MSFA Executive Director Ted Mondale and MSFA Director of Facilities and Engineering Steve Maki. The committee reviewed 16 proposals and conducted five interviews.

It’s the second round of big consulting contracts awarded by the authority. Scott Stenman was selected as the authority’s project director last month. An architect pick is expected by Oct. 5.

(MPR Photo/Jeffrey Thompson)

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