Who Gets Free U.S. Bank Tickets? DFL Activists

The scandal surrounding the two luxury suites at brand-new U.S. Bank Stadium that are controlled by the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority continues to grow. The Minneapolis Star Tribune, to its credit, has been investigating. It headlines: “U.S. Bank Stadium suite guests included network of DFL activists and friends.”

The guests lists at two U.S. Bank Stadium luxury suites revealed this week showed how those with ties to powerful DFLers open doors to amenities not available to the politically unconnected.

On Monday, the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority (MSFA) released the names of dozens of people who had been guests of commissioners and staff members in two luxury suites at U.S. Bank Stadium. Some of the people are well-known, such as Minneapolis City Attorney Susan Segal and her husband, state Management and Budget Office Commissioner Myron Frans. Others are known more to insiders such as Gov. Mark Dayton’s spokesman Linden Zakula and his wife, Ali Fetissoff, who is listed as a friend of Michele Kelm-Helgen, chairwoman of the MSFA.

The Strib notes that insider guests have reimbursed $21,000 since the newspaper started asking questions about the suites last fall. How much was reimbursed before then? We don’t know, but apparently not much.

The list of DFL insiders who got freebies goes on and on. For example:

Fetissoff, who like many others was invited to the suites for games and concerts, is listed as the vice president of strategy and communications for New Partners, which describes itself as a political and corporate consulting firm that has worked campaigns and issues for President Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

New Partners CEO Jerry Samargia and senior vice president Justin Buoen attended the Metallica concert on Aug. 20 as guests of Ted Mondale, MSFA executive director. None of the New Partners executives have paid for their tickets.

Friends, relatives and political allies of the DFL party have been parading through the two suites controlled by the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority, a public body. This is corruption on the part of an entrenched political class. Corruption of a relatively minor sort, to be sure, but perhaps part of the reason why so many Minnesotans voted for change in November.