Bills Lease Delayed

8:55 AM, Sep 13, 2012   |    comments
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  • "Don't get the idea that this is like a two page lease with your landlord," says Co. Exec. while hoisting current Bills lease.
  • Ralph Wilson Stadium - Courtesy: US Presswire

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. - Buffalo Bills CEO Russ Brandon says lease talks with the state and county have stalled, opening the possibility that a one-year interim deal will have to be reached for the team to keep playing at Ralph Wilson Stadium next season.

Brandon says while he's been prepared to continue talks, the team has encountered "a cone of silence" from the other side.

The Buffalo News first reported talks had stalled.

The lease expires in July. Tied to the deal are more than $200 million the Bills are seeking in renovations and upgrades to the 39-year-old stadium.

Securing a long-term deal in July is in question because the Bills will miss a deadline this month to apply for an NFL loan assistance program to offset costs.

This past summer, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said he wanted a general agreement or a "memorandum of understanding" by the start of training camp on the major issues for a new lease deal on Ralph Wilson Stadium with the Buffalo Bills.

When that deadline passed, Poloncarz amended his wish, hoping it would come by the end of the year.

"It's not going to happen," Poloncarz said Tuesday. "But I guarantee we're going to get a lease done, there's no doubt about it."

Poloncarz declined to be specific as to what the sticking points might be.

In the meantime, Poloncarz said the Bills are amenable to extending the current lease while negotiations continue.

"I am very pleased that the Bills have agreed in principal to a one year extension of the current lease that will give us the time to negotiate a lease that's fair and ensures the one term viability of the Bills organization in Buffalo," Poloncarz said.

However, it also means that any stadium improvements associated with a new lease will be delayed at least a year, and will thus likely cost a bit more according to Poloncarz, who maintains getting a deal hammered out is priority one for his administration.

And while he insists  talks continue between the county, the Bills, and the state (which the County hopes will pay for the lions share of stadium improvements) he concedes it's been two and a half months since all three sides actually sat down in the same room and blames scheduling conflicts.

Bills CEO Russ Brandon spoke at length to the Buffalo News for it's article in this morning's edition...he also appeared on WGR Radio, which carries the Bills games to discuss lease developments (where he also inferred the newspaper, with its headline "Delay Puts Bills Lease In Jeopardy" may have blown the situation out of proportion.

But when Two On Your Side asked to speak with Brandon we were told by a team spokesman that he was out of town--on business- and that he would not even be available on the phone to answer our questions.

Click on the video player to watch our story from 2 On Your Side Reporter Dave McKinley and Photojournalist Dave Harrington.

Click here to read Dave McKinley's latest blog.

Follow Dave on Twitter: @DaveMcKinley2

This article includes reporting from the Associated Press.




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