Mar 6


Monday Morning Read

The latest on the Bills proposed stadium and other news, via Jim Heaney and excerpts from his WeeklyPost email newsletter.

Editor’s note: This post is pulled from WeeklyPost, an email newsletter written by Jim Heaney and published Sunday mornings. It recaps our coverage of the previous week and highlights other local, state and national stories that Heaney finds of interest, along with a bit of commentary. If you don’t already subscribe — for free — you can do so at this link

A story broke late last week that said the Bills stadium deal being struck is going to cost taxpayers over $1 billion. According to Sports Business Journal, taxpayers would cover $850 million of the project’s $1.4 billion price tag, and kick in something north of $150 million for ongoing maintenance, capital improvements and the like. The Sports Journal noted that it would be the first NFL stadium built since 2008 (Indianapolis) where taxpayers paid for more than half of construction expenses.

If true, and the Bills impose seat license fees on fans, it means the Pegulas will put up very little of their own money to build and operate the stadium. 

Mike Florio, writing for NBC Sports, had this to say regarding the Sports Journal story:

At a time when fewer and fewer citizens believe taxpayer money should be devoted to the playgrounds of the American oligarchs, the ability of Bills owners Terry and Kim Pegula to shake so much cash out of the public coffers is impressive. Even if some Western New York residents would call the commandeering of so much public money for the project depressing.

Word has it a deal will be announced by the end of the month.

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A little birdie tells me Joseph Gramaglia has given up his side gig moonlighting as “officer in charge” for the Village of Blasdell’s police department. Only fair, considering he’s now Buffalo police commissioner. Meanwhile, the exodus from City Hall continues, including Kevin Helfer.

More sleaze from the Kathy Hochul camp. New York Focus reports the governor’s campaign has accepted nearly $150,000 in donations from limited liability corporations who violated contribution limits established in state election law. Meanwhile, the Albany Times Union reports that Lieutenant Governor Brian Benjamin, while serving in the state Senate, billed taxpayers for expenses he had already covered with his campaign’s credit card. Benjamin has since fixed the double-dipping.

File this under “good money after bad.” Hochul has proposed earmarking $200 million in the state budget to pay for infrastructure improvements to upstate industrial parks in an effort to lure computer chip makers and other high-tech manufacturers. Hasn’t the IDA in Genesee County squandered enough money?

Some of you attended our screening in 2019 of the documentary Get Me Roger Stone and a talkback with director Morgan Pehme. Well, the dirty trickster invited another camera crew to follow him around, including around the time of the January 6 insurrection. The Washington Post has the story about what the camera captured. Disturbing.

FiveThirtyEight runs through the poll numbers on how Americans are viewing Russia’s war on Ukraine and how the United States ought to respond. My two cents: When you see a bully beating someone up, you stop them.