Local lawmakers talk Bills stadium negotiations

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz had strong words for some County lawmakers: “the Legislature can’t force me to do anything.”

Poloncarz doubled down Wednesday, saying he will not publicly discuss the Buffalo Bills stadium lease negotiations with anyone, including the Erie County Legislature.

“We’re negotiating with the Bills like we’re negotiating with the State, and the only way to get a good negotiation done is to do it among the entities that are there,” Poloncarz said. “When you have interference from third parties, whether they’re legislators in Erie County, Assembly or Senate, or just the general public – it doesn’t help us get a deal done.”

Last month, legislators unanimously passed a resolution requiring the County Executive to give regular updates about the Bills stadium negotiations.

“He’s wrong in the fact the legislature can’t tell him what to do,” said Erie County Legislature Minority Leader Joseph Lorigo. “He’s being disrespectful – not only to the Legislature, but also to the million people that we all represent in Erie County.”

Poloncarz also addressed the recent resolution from the Buffalo Common Council, which asked for state and county leaders to look into building the stadium downtown.

“What I heard from the Common Council and others from the city is ‘we’d like you to move the stadium in Buffalo.’ Fair point. I understand that. But one thing they didn’t do is they didn’t say how much money they were going to provide to do that,” Poloncarz said.

Councilmember Rasheed Wyatt introduced the resoultion. He told News 4 it makes sense to bring the Buffalo Bills back into the Queen City.

“[The Common Council does] bring money to the table. We have one-third of the county – those are taxpayers dollars, and they should have some input in that,” Wyatt said.

A spokesperson from Empire State Development said New York State’s study into a new stadium is looking at several location options, including a potential downtown site.

On Wednesday, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced she expects the findings of that study will be released to the public within a few days.

Marlee Tuskes is a reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.

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