SBD/May 1, 2014/Franchises

New York State Enlists Law Firm, Consultant For Aid In Fight To Keep Bills In Buffalo

A consultant is expected to be hired in the next few weeks
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's administration will be "hiring a consultant to quickly turn around a plan to present to would-be owners" of the Bills in the months ahead "depicting everything from possible new stadium sites in Western New York to the role of the state in a new stadium to the financial benefits of keeping the team in the region," according to Tom Precious of the BUFFALO NEWS. New York State Dir of Operations Howard Glaser said, "We want to send a message to potential ownership groups that we’re very serious about looking at a stadium as part of the package to keep the Bills in Western New York." Precious notes a consultant is expected to "be hired in the next few weeks for a contract that calls for the as-yet unknown company to develop a presentation within 90 days that could be presented to future owners." The New York Economic Development Agency a couple of weeks ago "quietly retained the services" of Manhattan-based law firm Foley & Lardner to "represent the state's interest in upcoming expected talks." The moves represent "a sudden push by the Cuomo administration" since the recent death of Ralph Wilson Jr. to "keep the state’s interests in play as the team’s future remains uncertain" (BUFFALO NEWS, 5/1). Precious notes Foley & Lardner lawyer Irwin Raij has been called the state's "ringer" in the talks because of "his expertise in cutting complex sports deals, from team ownership to stadium financing and construction." Raij considered the '13 stadium lease deal "a sort of Phase 1 for keeping the Bills." Now, with "new owners coming on board, more work needs to be done." Raij said, "Now we have to work on Phase 2, which is how to take (the Bills deal) from 10 years to, whatever, 25 or 30 years. Frankly, I don’t know what that solution is yet" (BUFFALO NEWS, 5/1).
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