Buffalo Bills respond to State Assembly proposal


The New York State Assembly issued a new proposal this week in relation to the Buffalo Bills Memorandum of Understanding with the state and Erie County on their new 10-year lease agreement.

Assembly Democrats want Governor Andrew Cuomo to put into state law a provision that places additional financial penalties on the club if they choose to relocate in the first seven years of the agreement. The proposal would require the Bills to reimburse New York State for all of the stadium renovation and operating costs contained in the lease agreement.

The Buffalo Bills issued a statement in response to the State Assembly proposal Wednesday.

"The terms negotiated by Governor Cuomo and County Executive Poloncarz into the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) include the gold standard for fully protecting  the public's investment in Ralph Wilson Stadium. The three parties have agreed in principle to signing a binding contract that not only allows the Public Entities to get a court injunction preventing the Bills from moving before their lease term ends (specific performance), but further provides that if a court for any reason doesn't issue such an injunction, the Bills must pay the Public Entities $400 million (liquidated damages). That sum is more than double the present value of the investments to be made by the Public Entities under the proposed lease. The team agreed in writing to both of these protections months ago. The reason for the proposed legislation is thus a complete mystery to us."

The M.O.U. signed by the Bills, the state and the county late last year contains a $130 million package for renovating Ralph Wilson Stadium. The Bills will pay $35 million, the state $54 million and the county $41 million over the life of the agreement.

The Assembly proposal is not part of the Senate package of budget bills and thus would need to be negotiated with Senate leaders to move forward in the legislative process.

The lease agreement has already been ratified by the Erie County Legislature in a unanimous vote in late January.

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