By Brian Johnson
BridgeTower Media Newswires
In her final board meeting as chair of the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority, Michele Kelm-Helgen promised a “smooth transition” as new leadership takes over the public body that oversees operation of U.S. Bank Stadium.
Meanwhile, the MSFA appointed IT consultant Jim Farstad as the interim executive director, and incoming interim board chair Kathleen Blatz voiced skepticism about the MSFA’s need to control two suites to market the $1.1 billion stadium.
Kelm-Helgen and MSFA executive director/CEO Ted Mondale announced their resignations two weeks ago in the wake of a scathing report from state’s Office of the Legislative Auditor.
The OLA chided the authority over its use of two MSFA-owned stadium suites to entertain friends and family members.
Kelm-Helgen’s resignation is effective March 8. On Friday, she thanked Blatz, a former chief justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court, for “agreeing to take on this challenging and important role.”
“I worked with her this past week, and I am confident that she will provide the excellent leadership that is needed to steady the ship and keep the stadium operating at top performance,” Kelm-Helgen said.
After the board meeting, Blatz questioned why the MSFA needs to control two suites for marketing the $1.1 billion stadium, which opened last year in downtown Minneapolis.
“If we don’t need them for marketing — two suites for marketing — then what other public purposes could we do with those suites? I think those should be explored,” she added in an interview.
Farstad, the interim executive director, has worked with the MSFA as a technology consultant. Blatz said she needed someone in place right away to take on that executive director role.
“It’s really the front-burner issue,” she said. “He will — and has — hit the ground running. That is the good news.”
Also on Friday, board members praised Kelm-Helgen for her role in overseeing the stadium project over the past 4-½ years.