Minn. tribe wants to partner in new stadium, gambling business

Minnesota's White Earth Nation tribe has offered to pay the $400 million state share of a new Vikings stadium in exchange for approval to build a gambling palace in the city, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported Friday.

House Speaker Kurt Zellers, R-Maple Grove, sounded hostile to the plan.

"We will stick with what works," he said.

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"It's probably going to have a difficult time," Senate Majority Leader David Senjem said.

Erma Vizenor, the tribal chairwoman, called the offer "the only solution that meets the test of fairness, common sense and no new taxes, guaranteed," and added, "The 20,000 members of the great White Earth Nation are looking forward to a new way of life."

Vikings vice president Lester Bagley, however, was open to the idea.

"Having alternatives is good," Bagley said, according to the Star Tribune. "We're impressed with what we heard from White Earth."

Bagley did say the team would "defer to state leaders and the Legislature in Advertisement terms of their interest in advancing this funding alternative," according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

A stadium bill in the state Legislature would create a public-private partnership to build a $975 million downtown Minneapolis stadium, but it has yet to gain serious momentum. The Vikings will play at the Metrodome in 2012, even though their lease has expired.

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