On November 5, 2013, an arbitrator recommended that Zygi, Mark and Leonard Wilf pay roughly $15 million in attorney’s fees to former business partners they defrauded in a “failed New Jersey real-estate venture,” that could cost the Minnesota Vikings executives approximately $100 million.
Special master Stephen Orlofsky found that the Wilfs should pay “full court costs in addition to $84.5 million in damages they [owe] in connection with a 21-year-old New Jersey lawsuit.” In August, Morris County Judge Deanne Wilson, held that the Vikings executives committed fraud and violated New Jersey’s civil racketeering laws.
Orlofsky was asked to decide whether the Wilfs should pay litigation costs the sides incurred in the NJ case. “Plaintiffs prevailed on virtually every issue at trial, obtained an overwhelmingly favorable result, and should be awarded the vast majority of the attorneys’ fees and costs they seek,” Orlofsky said.
Judge Wilson held that the Wilfs “cheated” Josef Halpern and Ada Reichmann out of their share of profits arising out of a 764-unit apartment complex in Montville, N.J. The Wilfs will appeal the decision by Wilson, and are also attempting to keep the family’s net worth from being disclosed in public records.
The potentially large payout in this case has led people to question whether the Wilfs will be able to “pay their $477 million share of the new $975 million stadium,” in Minnesota. Construction for the new stadium is planned to begin later this month.
According to Mark Wilf, Minnesota fans have nothing to be worried about, “I think the important thing for everyone here is it doesn’t affect, one iota, our commitment and moving on to getting the stadium done and opened in the fall of 2016.”