NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. — While the future of the Bills remains up in the air after owner Ralph Wilson Jr. passed in March, New York City developer Howard Milstein is expressing interest in the team and keeping it in Western New York.
Friday, Lt. Gov. Bob Duffy said from what he knows about Milstein, he would be a good owner.
"I've had some professional contacts with him through the last four years, have been pretty positive. I mean, he oversees the Thruway Authority. He's a very successful business leader," said Duffy, D-New York.
Milstein previously co-owned the New York Islanders from 1998 to 2000. He withdrew a bid in 1999 to purchase the Washington Redskins after failing to get support from a majority of NFL owners.
The developer controls large undeveloped plots of land in Niagara falls, which is being discussed as a possible site for a future stadium. Some local leaders say the lack of development of that land should be a red flag.
"They never took some action against him for not doing what he said he was going to do in developing this property?" asked businessman Carl Paladino.
"There’s been a lot of acquisition over a decade, I think by the Milstein group and not a lot of action so I think they would really have to demonstrate that they're really going to do more than talk at this point in time. We need action," said Erie County Clerk Chris Jacobs.
Jacobs said his cousins, who own Delaware North, are focused on doing what they can to keep the Bills here.
Real estate mogul Donald Trump has expressed interest in buying the Bills, and Erie County Republican Committee Chairman Nick Langworthy, who has worked closely with Trump, says he hasn’t given up on Bills ownership, either.
"He remains very interested and at this point everyone is awaiting the Buffalo Bills to retain their investment bank to value the franchise and its assets and at that point the bids will open," Langworthy said.
We reached out to a spokesperson for Milstein, but our calls have not been returned.