Wilfs say $84.5 million judgment against them won't affect Vikings

The Wilf family was hit with a court judgment of $84.5 million. (USATSI)
The Wilf family was hit with a court judgment of $84.5 million. (USATSI)

With Vikings owner Zygi Wilf potentially on the hook for tens of millions of dollars because two former partners accused him and his family of fraud, it was fair to wonder how a loss like that would affect the Minnesota franchise.

Now that a judgment of a whopping $84.5 million was levied this week against the Wilfs, their answer to the aforementioned question is this: not at all.

"We wake up every day and our focus is 100 percent on that goal and doing whatever it takes to get the Minnesota Vikings a Super Bowl championship," Mark Wilf said, via USA Today, on Wednesday. "That has never changed and never will change."

Wilf also said that the judgment wouldn’t affect the team’s plans to build a $1 billion stadium in the near future.

The case had been in the court system for more than two decades, and it went back to when the plaintiffs, Josef Halpern and Ada Reichmann, had accused the Wilf family of defrauding them in a real estate deal in the 1980s.  

New Jersey judge Deanne Wilson had ruled that Zygi Wilf, his brother Mark and their cousin Leonard committed fraud and breach of contract while violating the state's racketeering statute (also known as RICO). Wilson also had said that “there was a consistent, pervasive method [by the Wilfs] of removing funds so they would not reach the partners.”

Mark Wilf said they disagreed with the judge’s decision and planned to appeal it.

Meanwhile, the 0-3 Vikings are preparing to play the 0-3 Steelers in the first of two NFL games this season in London’s Wembley Stadium.

"It certainly is a cloud [over the trip], so to speak," Mark Wilf said. "But it's early in the season, and this can hopefully be a spark and a coming together for our team to refocus and re-energize and get our season right back on track. Certainly, we're disappointed in the start so far."

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