After years of litigation, a New Jersey judge has ordered the owners of the Minnesota Vikings to pay more than $84 million in damages to former partners of a real estate deal following a civil fraud case.
Furthermore, the judge ruled that Zygi Wilf will personally need to pay 60 percent of the civil damages, which comes out to roughly $50 million. It's also important to note that the order does not include attorney fees, which could push the total sum the Wilfs would need to pay up to $100 million.
The trouble doesn't end there either. Since punitive damages were awarded, New Jersey state law requires the case be sent in for criminal investigation now.
The Wilfs were not in the courtroom on Monday, but their attorneys made it clear they do not agree with the judge's decision. They do plan to appeal, and that process could take two to three years to run its course.
According to the Wilfs' attorneys, the order will not impact the new Vikings stadium, but Zygi, Mark, and their cousin, Leonard, are looking at a big bill. Even so, John Boyle, a trial attorney with the law firm Moss and Barrett, said the money isn't the biggest concern.
The New Jersey case dragged on for years. Just last month, a judge ruled that the Wilfs showed "bad faith and evil motive" when finding them guilty of defrauding their partners. The case caught the attention of the NFL and Gov. Mark Dayton, who questioned the Vikings owners' business practices.
Yet, the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority, which is overseeing the nearly $1 billion stadium project, already concluded the Wilfs can afford to cover their $477 million share. In a conference call with reporters, the Wilfs' attorneys iterated that finding.
The Wilfs own hundreds of companies around the world, and their family businesses spread over 37 states. At last check, their net worth was estimated at more than $300 million.