Zygi Wilf

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Zygi Wilf
Zygi Wilf and Edward Masso cropped (1).jpg
BornZygmunt Wilf
(1950-04-22) April 22, 1950 (age 64)
Germany
EthnicityJewish
Occupationreal estate developer
Known forowner of the Minnesota Vikings
Spouse(s)Audrey Wilf[1]
ParentsElizabeth Wilf
Joseph Wilf
 
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Zygi Wilf
Zygi Wilf and Edward Masso cropped (1).jpg
BornZygmunt Wilf
(1950-04-22) April 22, 1950 (age 64)
Germany
EthnicityJewish
Occupationreal estate developer
Known forowner of the Minnesota Vikings
Spouse(s)Audrey Wilf[1]
ParentsElizabeth Wilf
Joseph Wilf

Zygmunt "Zygi" Wilf (born April 22, 1950) is the principal owner of the Minnesota Vikings of the National Football League.[2]

Early life[edit]

Zygi Wilf was born in Germany on April 22, 1950. His parents, Joseph and Elizabeth Wilf, are both Holocaust survivors from Nazi occupied Poland.[3] The Wilf family immigrated to the United States from Europe in the early 1950s and settled in Hillside, New Jersey. After a brief stint as used car salesmen, Joseph and his brother Harry Wilf began purchasing apartment buildings and renting units. Eventually, the brothers began building single-family homes and founded Garden Homes.[4] A successful real estate developer, his two main family-run businesses, Garden Homes and Garden Commercial Properties, have constructed some 25,000 homes in 39 states across the country since their initial ventures; the two entities and their affiliates own and manage 25,000,000 square feet (2,300,000 m2) in retail and business property.[5]

Education[edit]

Zygi Wilf attended Fairleigh Dickinson University, earning a bachelor's degree in economics in 1971, and later graduated from New York Law School in Manhattan. He also received an honorary degree at Fairleigh Dickinson's 69th Commencement Ceremony in May 2012.[6]

Career[edit]

After working as an attorney, Wilf joined the family business and became head of one of the company's affiliates, Garden Commercial Properties.[7] Wilf has grown the company from four shopping centers in Northern New Jersey to over a hundred properties, including several large malls. In addition to the commercial properties, the Garden companies also own and manage 90,000 apartment units around the country.

Minnesota Vikings[edit]

Wilf and five partners purchased the Minnesota Vikings of the National Football League from Red McCombs in 2005 for a reported US$600 million.[8] Forbes estimates the 2014 value of the franchise at US$1.007 billion, or 21st of the 32 NFL teams.[9]

For several years the Vikings and Wilf have stated that their former home, the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome was inadequate and had lobbied for a new stadium.[10][11] In May 2012, the Minnesota Vikings moved closer to getting a new $975 million stadium after the state Senate approved a plan that relies heavily on public financing.[12] Later that month the deal was signed by Gov. Mark Dayton and narrowly approved by the Minneapolis City Council, ending any speculation of relocation.[13]

Trial for fraud and racketeering[edit]

On August 6, 2013, Wilf, along with his brother and cousin, were found liable by a New Jersey court for breaking civil state racketeering laws and keeping separate accounting books to fleece former business partners of shared revenue. The presiding judge noted that Wilf had used organized crime like tactics to commit fraud against his business partners.[14]

References[edit]