May 12--ALBANY -- A wealthy Manhattan real estate investor and banker said he will not be making a bid to buy the Buffalo Bills, but will help with efforts to keep the team in Western New York.
Howard Milstein, who is Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's chairman of the state Thruway Authority, suggested land he has accumulated in downtown Niagara Falls could be a possible site for a new stadium for the team.
Some media accounts have depicted Milstein as highly interested in buying the team.
But a spokesman for Milstein, after a couple weeks of queries by The Buffalo News, released a statement today saying he will not be trying to join the exclusive club of NFL team owners.
Milstein said he and Niagara Falls Redevelopment, a private company he heads, want to help keep the team in the region.
"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," Milstein said in a written statement provided to The News.
"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 critical 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."
Milstein added that he looks forward to "working with all parties and any prospective buyers to help keep the Bills in upstate New York where they belong."
Milstein did not elaborate on how he might help and his spokesman said there would be no further comment.
The comments by Milstein come on the same day that a consulting firm has started scouting possible locations for a new football stadium.
The work, part of a state contract with a Manhattan law firm, includes looking at up to a dozen sites and coming up with a final list of three or four specific locations, along with a massive amount of financial, infrastructure and other details that can be used by a potential bidder in judging the feasibility of building a new stadium and determining where it might be built.
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