BUFFALO, N.Y. — "This is a complex matter and where we are just doesn't fit in with the NFL's timetable of meetings that are being held in September and October," said Mark Poloncarz, (D), Erie County Executive.
Poloncarz called a news conference Wednesday in response to a Buffalo News report that blames the state for the Bills missing a deadline to get millions in stadium funding the NFL. Poloncarz held up the current lease with the Bills to show the just how much detail has to be worked through.
"When you're talking about a complicated document like this, and this isn't one document, it's actually 35 documents; when you're talking about a complicated document like this and you've got three parties that are part of the negotiating, you just don't get it done overnight," said Poloncarz.
Poloncarz says he had hoped to have a lease deal signed by the end of the year. That deal, if approved, would have allowed the Bills to be eligible for millions in NFL funds to help renovate the stadium.
Poloncarz says the biggest problem with the negotiations has been scheduling. In fact, the last time all three sides came to the table was June 29th.
"You know, we haven't met in quite some time. It's more than like likely an opportunity to not be able to match calendars across all parties," said Russ Brandon, Bills CEO.
In an interview on WGR radio, Brandon said despite the delays, it's been an ongoing process and all three parties are committed to reaching a deal.
"Our whole focus all long has been to get a long term lease done and that remains our focus. Our thing is to restart the process and set a new calendar and continue to move forward and work on a long term agreement," said Brandon.
Lieutenant Governor Robert Duffy released a statement say the Buffalo News story is "untrue and ignores the facts." In the statement, Duffy says, "Last month the governor hired a leading national expert in sports negotiations, we have had constant negotiations with the team and the local government for the last several months, and the Governor has asked me to step in and take a leading role in the process. We will continue to negotiate with all sides."
Meantime, Poloncarz says he expects the team to sign an interim one-year lease that'll guarantee the team will play at the Ralph through the 2013-14 season and give the state, the county, and the Bills time to reach a deal that woud keep the team here for years to come.