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Updated: April 18th, 2012 8:15pm
Gov. Dayton has 'sobering conversation' with Roger Goodell on stadium

Gov. Dayton has 'sobering conversation' with Roger Goodell on stadium

by The Associated Press
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Supporters of building a new Vikings stadium looked for ways Wednesday to keep the project afloat at the Capitol after its defeat in a House committee.

One possible backup plan emerged in a bill that's supposed to be up for review in the House Taxes Committee on Thursday. It would authorize Minnesota charities that operate games of chance in bars to offer electronic versions of some games, with tax profits earmarked to fund the stadium. The charities bill could be a vehicle for attaching the larger Minneapolis stadium bill and giving it new life, although its chief sponsor says he doesn't favor that approach.

Rep. John Kriesel, R-Cottage Grove, said he realizes his bill could be a magnet for stadium supporters. While he backs a subsidized Vikings stadium himself, Kriesel said he wants to keep his proposal focused on delivering tax relief to charities who run the bar games.

"I don't want the Vikings stadium added to it," Kriesel said. "I won't support it."

Meanwhile, stadium supporter Gov. Mark Dayton spoke by phone Wednesday night with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell about the stalled stadium plan. Spokesman Bob Hume said afterward that Dayton described it as a "sobering conversation," with Goodell stressing the urgency not just for the Vikings but the entire league if the Legislature fails to pass a stadium plan this year.

"This was portrayed as having support and likely to pass as recently as a couple of weeks ago," Eric Grubman, the league's executive vice president of business operations, told the Star Tribune. "So, this will come as quite a blow. This is quite a blow.

"There are plenty of willing buyers. I think the Wilfs do not want to sell the franchise, but I think there is a point where they probably would be open-minded. I would not be surprised if (Goodell) tells the governor, if he asks, what other cities are interested."

Also Wednesday, supporters of the discarded plan to build the stadium in suburban Ramsey County instead of downtown Minneapolis revived their argument that the Arden Hills site would preferable. They unveiled a retooled proposal that would include a 2 percent food-and-beverage tax in suburban Ramsey County to pay for upgrading roads around the proposed stadium site.

© The Associated Press