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Book tells of up-and-down negotiations that led to Bills stadium lease deal

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This is wild.  According to this, it was the STATE, and NOT Ralph Wilson, that required the $400 Billion non-relocation buy-out.  

 

Ralph got alot of credit for that term. Turns out he should not have. 

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Two things stand out to me:

 

1)  "... when two things became clear to the Cuomo administration: The Bills had no interest in a new stadium, and the county had already determined that a new stadium in downtown would not work for a host of financial and logistical reasons. "

I wonder if these reasons still exist today.

 

2) " Poloncarz said then-Bills President Russ Brandon told him that penalty ultimately kept many prospective owners – Poloncarz knew of about 10 – from placing bids on the Bills when Wilson died in March 2014. "

 

Without that relocation fee, the Bills were good as gone upon Wilson's death.

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13 minutes ago, JoshAllenHasBigHands said:

This is wild.  According to this, it was the STATE, and NOT Ralph Wilson, that required the $400 Billion non-relocation buy-out.  

 

Ralph got alot of credit for that term. Turns out he should not have. 

 

Agreed. At least that is the way I remember it....that Ralph was a hero for that. I guess he did have to agree to it? 

 

I am really interested to see how the Democratic ran New York State will deal with Terry Pegula, a man who made he fortune from Fracking. 

9 minutes ago, Cynical said:

Two things stand out to me:

 

1)  "... when two things became clear to the Cuomo administration: The Bills had no interest in a new stadium, and the county had already determined that a new stadium in downtown would not work for a host of financial and logistical reasons. "

I wonder if these reasons still exist today.

 

2) " Poloncarz said then-Bills President Russ Brandon told him that penalty ultimately kept many prospective owners – Poloncarz knew of about 10 – from placing bids on the Bills when Wilson died in March 2014. "

 

Without that relocation fee, the Bills were good as gone upon Wilson's death.

 

I would say it is totally different with Pegula so firmly entrenched in the Downtown area.  Ralph Wilson wasn’t and had no reason to make something like that work given his financial situation and his age.

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"Poloncarz said that meant the Bills anticipated the likelihood that the team would move after Wilson's death. That's part of the reason the Bills didn't seek a huge sum for stadium renovations or a new stadium, he said."

 

The scene was the Millennium Hotel in Cheektowaga on Oct. 2, 2012. When Glaser, the key state negotiator, dropped the $400 million relocation "bomb" on Littman, the Bills CFO, "Jeff was shocked and angry," Poloncarz wrote.

 

I remember thinking at the time that Ralph Wilson, Russ Brandon, etc... were doing everything they could to keep the Bills in Buffalo beyond Ralph's passing, but it turns out it was the NY politicians who made sure the Bills were staying. 

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10 minutes ago, Jerry Jabber said:

"Poloncarz said that meant the Bills anticipated the likelihood that the team would move after Wilson's death. That's part of the reason the Bills didn't seek a huge sum for stadium renovations or a new stadium, he said."

 

The scene was the Millennium Hotel in Cheektowaga on Oct. 2, 2012. When Glaser, the key state negotiator, dropped the $400 million relocation "bomb" on Littman, the Bills CFO, "Jeff was shocked and angry," Poloncarz wrote.

 

I remember thinking at the time that Ralph Wilson, Russ Brandon, etc... were doing everything they could to keep the Bills in Buffalo beyond Ralph's passing, but it turns out it was the NY politicians who made sure the Bills were staying. 

I'm assuming Ralph wasn't much involved. He was incredibly old at the time. Russ Brandon probably didn't care, as long as he got paid.

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2 minutes ago, MJS said:

I'm assuming Ralph wasn't much involved. He was incredibly old at the time. Russ Brandon probably didn't care, as long as he got paid.

 

I agree 100% Not to bash the dead, but Ralph wasn't involved much with the team the last 15 years he owned them, which is why the product on the field was as bad as it was, so it wouldn't surprise me that most likely didn't have much (or anything) at all to do with the stadium lease negotiations.

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25 minutes ago, Jerry Jabber said:

"Poloncarz said that meant the Bills anticipated the likelihood that the team would move after Wilson's death. That's part of the reason the Bills didn't seek a huge sum for stadium renovations or a new stadium, he said."

 

The scene was the Millennium Hotel in Cheektowaga on Oct. 2, 2012. When Glaser, the key state negotiator, dropped the $400 million relocation "bomb" on Littman, the Bills CFO, "Jeff was shocked and angry," Poloncarz wrote.

 

I remember thinking at the time that Ralph Wilson, Russ Brandon, etc... were doing everything they could to keep the Bills in Buffalo beyond Ralph's passing, but it turns out it was the NY politicians who made sure the Bills were staying. 

 

Littman seemed like a little turd who didn't care about the Bills or the fans; he was a bean counter who wanted to get paid...a lot.  Not surprised given how tight fisted he was while in the front office.

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Posted (edited)
53 minutes ago, JoshAllenHasBigHands said:

This is wild.  According to this, it was the STATE, and NOT Ralph Wilson, that required the $400 Billion non-relocation buy-out.  

 

Ralph got alot of credit for that term. Turns out he should not have. 

 

It always puzzled me when people gave wilson and brandon all the credit for the non relocation agreement, and have even seen it suggested russ brandon masterminded it and fooled everyone to save the bills.

  Generally the sides pull the other way and the county/state looking for the relocation fee and lease term as they potentially decrease the value of the asset.  Wilson did agree to it, which was good.  If the bills side wanted a strong NRA, ny and EC would have happily accepted a thousand year lease with a $3 trillion buyout. His passing was also right at the beginning of the NRA term which was also key in making an out of town purchase unattractive 

Edited by May Day 10
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49 minutes ago, Cynical said:

 

1)  "... when two things became clear to the Cuomo administration: The Bills had no interest in a new stadium, and the county had already determined that a new stadium in downtown would not work for a host of financial and logistical reasons. "

I wonder if these reasons still exist today.

 

Without that relocation fee, the Bills were good as gone upon Wilson's death.

 

I would imagine the county would have NO problems if a stadium were built, with private funds, to bring in more commerce/tax revenue. 

 

And I agree, that poison pill is the only reason they are still around.

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9 minutes ago, Happy Gilmore said:

 

Littman seemed like a little turd who didn't care about the Bills or the fans; he was a bean counter who wanted to get paid...a lot.  Not surprised given how tight fisted he was while in the front office.

Not going to disagree overall on the Littman assessment but that relocation fee would decrease the # of bidders and potentially lower the bids. A financial person working for Ralph was being responsible. Little did he know that one of the suitors would overpay significantly.

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1 minute ago, Mr Info said:

Not going to disagree overall on the Littman assessment but that relocation fee would decrease the # of bidders and potentially lower the bids. A financial person working for Ralph was being responsible. Little did he know that one of the suitors would overpay significantly.

 

"Responsible" is a stretch.  Littman squeezed every last nickel out of the state and county and secured a beautiful parachute for himself in the process.

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Seems a little silly to give politicians the credit.  It was obvious as the time that state officials wanted the Bills to stay in Buffalo and merely by pursuing the renovation when he did Ralph was trying to keep the Bills in Buffalo.  It's Littman's job to focus on the financials, at the end of the day Ralph agreed to significantly reduce the the demand of his asset and presumably the value as well.  He didn't have to do it, but he did.  The politicians didn't loose anything by the deal Ralph Wilson did.  He gets the "credit".

 

Is Ralph's negotiator suppose to do the other sides job for them?

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Posted (edited)
14 minutes ago, Steve Billieve said:

Seems a little silly to give politicians the credit.  It was obvious as the time that state officials wanted the Bills to stay in Buffalo and merely by pursuing the renovation when he did Ralph was trying to keep the Bills in Buffalo.  It's Littman's job to focus on the financials, at the end of the day Ralph agreed to significantly reduce the the demand of his asset and presumably the value as well.  He didn't have to do it, but he did.  The politicians didn't loose anything by the deal Ralph Wilson did.  He gets the "credit".

 

Is Ralph's negotiator suppose to do the other sides job for them?

 

Yup.  What was the downside to Ralph in rejecting the $400M relocation fee?  No new stadium lease and they move to greener pastures (LA)?  Not (much of) a penalty if you ask me.

Edited by Doc

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4 minutes ago, Mr Info said:

Not going to disagree overall on the Littman assessment but that relocation fee would decrease the # of bidders and potentially lower the bids. A financial person working for Ralph was being responsible. Little did he know that one of the suitors would overpay significantly.

That's what I was thinking.  As a fiduciary for the Wilson estate, as I believe he was, it was his legal responsibility to act in the best interest of the estate.  The estate said many times they were selling to the highest bidder.

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11 minutes ago, Coach Tuesday said:

 

"Responsible" is a stretch.  Littman squeezed every last nickel out of the state and county and secured a beautiful parachute for himself in the process.

 

That was his job

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The majority of the money was going to charitable work in Detroit and Buffalo.  Just seems like Wilson/Littman were playing a dangerous game of chicken.  Everybody hates politicians but give credit where it is due here.  

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45 minutes ago, Happy Gilmore said:

 

Littman seemed like a little turd who didn't care about the Bills or the fans; he was a bean counter who wanted to get paid...a lot.  Not surprised given how tight fisted he was while in the front office.

 

This is wrong. Like, "the sky is purple" wrong. There just isn't even an element of truth to it.  Littman represented his clients.  He did NOTHING he was not instructed to do. He did not have the type of discretion you are describing here. 

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19 minutes ago, JoshAllenHasBigHands said:

 

This is wrong. Like, "the sky is purple" wrong. There just isn't even an element of truth to it.  Littman represented his clients.  He did NOTHING he was not instructed to do. He did not have the type of discretion you are describing here. 

 

If it was so wrong without an element of truth, then why was Littman surprised and angry when the state dropped the $400 million relocation "bomb"?

I do believe Littman was acting in the best interest for the Wilson estate, but let's not pretend he didn't have a lot to gain from it.

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Just now, Happy Gilmore said:

 

If it was so wrong without an element of truth, then why was Littman surprised and angry when the state dropped the $400 million relocation "bomb"?

I do believe Littman was acting in the best interest for the Wilson estate, but let's not pretend he didn't have a lot to gain from it.

 

I mean it is a negotiation.  What do you expect a negotiator to do? Vigorously agree?

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6 minutes ago, Steve Billieve said:

 

I mean it is a negotiation.  What do you expect a negotiator to do? Vigorously agree?

 

I really don't care that Littman did not vigorously agree to the relocation fee.  Shouldn't have cared either way, since the team would be sold to the highest bidder, which it was.  

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Just now, Happy Gilmore said:

 

I really don't care that Littman did not vigorously agree to the relocation fee.  Shouldn't have cared either way, since the team would be sold to the highest bidder, which it was.  

 

Just what do you think is being negotiated? The state wants the team to stay forever and ever.  The team wants the state to help provide facilities.  Why should a negotiator not care about an unusually large clawback that hadn't been previously discussed?

and even if he doesn't care why should he let that on.

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1 minute ago, Steve Billieve said:

 

Just what do you think is being negotiated? The state wants the team to stay forever and ever.  The team wants the state to help provide facilities.  Why should a negotiator not care about an unusually large clawback that hadn't been previously discussed?

 

I don't think Littman could do anything about it.  If Littman cared about the Bills staying in Buffalo, he wouldn't have been so surprised, upset, or even minded this fee was attached to the deal.  

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