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McFeely: Despite denial, Fargo businessman signed suite agreements with Minnesota Vikings

Documents show developer Mike Marcil listed as president of group from which NFL team is seeking $1.4 million; he signed two contracts with team

U.S. Bank Stadium 2018.jpg
Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen (19) celebrates with wide receiver Stefon Diggs (14) after a touchdown during a game against the San Francisco at U.S. Bank Stadium in 2018. Brad Rempel / USA TODAY Sports

FARGO — Despite denying direct involvement with a company from which the Minnesota Vikings are seeking unpaid rent on a stadium suite, documents obtained by The Forum show local developer Mike Marcil listed as the company's president and that he signed two contracts with the NFL team.

The Vikings are pursuing $1.4 million from Stadium Entertainment Partners LLC, a Fargo company that signed a contract in August 2016 to lease a suite at U.S. Bank Stadium from the 2016-17 football season through the 2022-23 season.

A source with knowledge of the situation who wished to not be named said Stadium Entertainment Partners was a group of Fargo businessmen who banded together to rent a suite at the downtown Minneapolis stadium. When they learned the suite was not available to them for all events, such as concerts, they approached the Vikings to change their agreement. The team refused.
Stadium Entertainment Partners stopped making rent payments, and the team went to arbitration in an effort to get the money owed. Documents obtained by The Forum show the Vikings went to the American Arbitration Association in 2019, which ruled in favor of the team.

The Vikings went to Hennepin County District Court in Minnesota to effectively force the Fargo company to pay. The team moved the case to North Dakota courts this year for the same reason.

Marcil, the chief executive officer of Orange Property Management in Fargo, is listed as the registered agent for Stadium Entertainment Partners. Those two companies shared an address.

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But when contacted by The Forum two weeks ago about the Vikings seeking payment, Marcil denied direct involvement with Stadium Entertainment Partners .

"I personally have no involvement with this business and have never had any personal ownership in the company, but one of the businesses I do have affiliation with did have limited past involvement (indirectly) as a minority investor but has not been involved since 2016," Marcil said in an email to The Forum.

However, the documents obtained by The Forum show Marcil listed as the president of Stadium Entertainment Partners. Marcil signed two suite contracts with the team as the company's president.

The first was signed in 2014, two years before U.S. Bank Stadium opened. It called for a $180,000 suite license fee from 2016-2018, escalating to $218,792 by the final year of the agreement in 2022.

Marcil signed a second contract for a different field-level suite in 2016, nullifying the 2014 agreement.

Both contracts listed Marcil as the president of Stadium Entertainment Partners LLC.

He did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the documents.

Included in the papers were email addresses for Marcil and an "mtharaldson." An email sent to the "mtharaldson" address attempting to confirm identification was not immediately returned.

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According to the Vikings website, field-level suites "bring fans closer to the action than any other seating area inside U.S. Bank Stadium. Each Turf Suite includes a field level viewing patio that is just feet from the sidelines and team bench."

The suites include all food and beverages, a field-level patio with drink rail and high-top table seating, access to the exclusive Delta Sky 360 Club and views of the player tunnel that leads directly to the field.

The 2016 agreement covered the years 2016-2022 with an initial suite license fee of $250,000 for each of the first three years. It escalated to $262,500 in 2019, $275,625 in 2020, $289,406 in 2021 and $303,876 in 2022.

The contract spells out that the suite holder will receive 22 admission tickets to the suite for every Vikings home preseason and regular season game beginning in 2017. During the 2016 season, however, the contract limited suite access to five Vikings home games.

"For clarification, Licensee shall have no access, use, or occupancy rights to the Suite during the First Suite Year, other than the Event Dates identified above," the contract reads.

The contract later states the suite holder is only guaranteed the suite for Vikings preseason, regular season and postseason games after 2016.

"The Suite may or may not be available to Licensee, at the discretion of the Authority or the applicable promoter (including Licensor), for use and occupancy for certain events and related events held in or about the Stadium, including events such as the NFL Super Bowl, NCAA Basketball tournaments, political conventions or certain special events produced by the Authority, third-party promoters, or Licensor," the contract says.

The "Authority" refers to the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority, a public body and political subdivision of the State of Minnesota that owns U.S. Bank Stadium.

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The contract stipulates that disputes over the suite will be resolved by arbitration if they cannot be settled in negotiation, specifically citing using the American Arbitration Association.

"Any award rendered by the arbitrators shall be final and binding on the parties and may be entered in any court having jurisdiction thereof," the contract says.

The suite license agreement is signed by Marcil and dated Aug. 30, 2016.

Included in the documents obtained by The Forum was a letter addressed to Marcil dated Sept. 23, 2019, outlining the AAA's decision to award the Vikings more than $1.4 million.

The letter stated an arbitration hearing was held Sept. 11, 2019. The Vikings were represented by attorneys Mark L. Johnson and Davida S. McGhee. Stadium Entertainment Partners went unrepresented.

"Respondent did not appear at the motion hearing or at any other stage of this arbitration," the letter said.

A panel of three arbitrators ruled Stadium Entertainment Partners owed $1,435,847.68, which included:

  • Legal damages: $1,346,407.
  • Prejudgment interest: $52,011.88.
  • Attorneys fees and costs: $25,061.30.
  • Administrative fees and expenses of the arbitration association: $7,700.
  • Aribtrator compensation and expenses: $4,667.50

Contacted for an earlier article about the award, Johnson of the Greene Espel Law Firm in Minneapolis declined comment other than to confirm the team is seeking payment in North Dakota.
Stadium Entertainment Partners' attorney listed in North Dakota court documents, Beverley Adams of the Fredrikson & Byron law firm in Fargo, said she does not represent the company.

"I am involved in this matter, though, along with a number of other N.D. counsel," Adams said in an email. "It is a pending legal matter so I am not able to have any conversations relating to the details of my involvement."

Mike Marcil
Mike Marcil

Mike Marcil
Mike Marcil

Related Topics: THE MCFEELY MESS
Mike McFeely is a columnist for The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead. He began working for The Forum in the 1980s while he was a student studying journalism at Minnesota State University Moorhead. He's been with The Forum full time since 1990, minus a six-year hiatus when he hosted a local radio talk-show.
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