Judge tells Wells Fargo to take down signs in Vikings clash

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) A judge on Thursday ordered Wells Fargo to take down office-tower rooftop signs near the Minnesota Vikings' new stadium.

U.S. District Judge Donovan Frank gave Wells Fargo 30 days to remove elevated signs from the rooftops of two office towers near U.S. Bank Stadium in downtown Minneapolis, the Star Tribune (http://strib.mn/28ORqi6 ) reported. Frank also ordered Wells Fargo to pay the Vikings' legal fees, finding the San Francisco-based bank had breached a contract.

The Vikings and Wells Fargo struck a deal over signage two years ago, but the team took the bank to court last December because the rooftop signs were illuminated and raised rather than painted and flat.

A Wells Fargo representative didn't immediately respond to requests from The Associated Press for comment. The Vikings said they were pleased with the ruling.

U.S. Bank Stadium opens this summer. The $1.1 billion stadium is named for a Wells Fargo competitor based in Minneapolis at an undisclosed cost that's undoubtedly dozens of millions of dollars over several years.

Across the street, twin 17-story office towers are each emblazoned with red-and-yellow Wells Fargo logos as part of a mixed-used development largely funded by the bank.

The signs were installed by Wells Fargo at a cost of $490,000.

Attorneys for the Vikings have labeled the signs a giant ''photo bomb'' of aerial images of the stadium and a breach of the contract with Wells Fargo, whose lawyers have countered that the signs are within the rights of the deal struck two years ago.

During prime-time games and national events, blimp shots from overhead the stadium would be cluttered by the Wells Fargo logos, the Vikings argued.

Christopher Grote, an attorney for the bank, argued against the team's ability to prove ''irreparable harm'' by any means other than speculation. Grote argued that the signs won't be visible in a TV shot of the stadium.

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Online:

AP NFL website: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

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Information from: Star Tribune, http://www.startribune.com

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