The race to see who will be the next owner of the Buffalo Bills has decreased by one horse.
Downstate developer Howard Milstein said Monday he will not try to buy the team. Sources had previously told Buffalo-area media outlets that he was interested in buying the club, but in a statement Monday he said that's not the case. He is, however, committed to keeping the team in the Buffalo area:
"We are prepared to put substantial personal and business resources behind that effort, including our land in Niagara Falls, but this does not include participating in the sales process or making a bid to purchase the team. Through my work with the New York State Thruway Authority, I have come to even more fully appreciate and respect the role the team plays in the Western New York community and understand the crucial importance of keeping the Bills in Western New York. I love football. I have always loved football and can't imagine our community losing this great team. I look forward to working with all parties and any prospective buyers to help keep the Bills in upstate New York where they belong."
This statement does add to the speculation surrounding the land he mentioned in Niagara Falls. The roughly 22-acre lot just adjacent to the Seneca Niagara Casino downtown has sat mostly vacant since last century. He's owned it that entire time and paid taxes on it, but it's otherwise remained unutilized even as other parts of downtown Niagara Falls slowly start to develop.
The news comes as a California company, AECOM, begins site work that the state contracted for concerning possible new sites for a new stadium, should one be built. Their work on a handful of sites will be done by early summer.
That's just one of the issues that will concern whoever the new owner is. Confirmed parties interested in the team are Donald Trump, the Jacobs family that runs Delaware North, Jim Kelly and Thurman Thomas. Buffalo Sabres owner Terry Pegula and former Sabres owner Tom Golisano have also been linked to possible purchase plans.
The Bills' future remains in limbo since owner Ralph Wilson Jr. died this past spring. His widow, Mary Wilson, holds controlling interest in the team and will sell, when she says the time is right.
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