Niagara Gazette — After asking a group of Niagara Falls High School students to tell him what was on their mind, Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy on Friday offered his thoughts on a pair of pressing local issues, including the future of Western New York's pro football franchise and the state's possible interest in a prominent building downtown.
In a brief meeting with reporters following a tour of one of the high school's new Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, or STEM labs, Duffy said he was "glad" to hear about New York City billionaire Howard Milstein's reported interest in buying the Buffalo Bills and hopeful the state could help in the process of redeveloping the One Niagara property on Rainbow Boulevard.
Duffy's visit followed reports on Thursday that Milstein - a wealthy real estate developer who owns Niagara Falls Redevelopment - plans to pursue the purchase of the Bills as part of a plan to maintain the team's presence in Western New York.
Duffy noted that no decisions have been made as to the ownership of the Bills, adding that several other prominent businessmen have been mentioned in connection with the team in recent weeks, including former Buffalo Sabres owner B. Thomas Golisano, Delaware North owner Jeremy Jacobs and former Buffalo Bills quarterback Jim Kelly.
"I know Howard Milstein. I've had conversations with him. He has never mentioned his interest in owning the Bills. I saw his name mentioned in media reports and I'm glad to see his name mentioned," Duffy said.
Duffy said the ownership picture is expected to clear up in the months ahead, as are plans for a new stadium in Western New York for the team. Duffy and Mayor Paul Dyster are part of a committee established by the state that is examining possible locations and financing for a proposed new stadium.