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“Let’s set the record straight: the governor and this administration are actively negotiating in good faith with the Bills,” Duffy said in a released statement.

“Keeping the Bills in Buffalo is critically important to the state and the region. And this administration is committed to doing everything we can to ensure that the Bills remain in western New York,” Duffy said. “If taxpayers are going to be asked for substantial financial support for stadium improvements, they must be assured of a long term commitment by the Bills to stay in Buffalo regardless of future ownership.”

Josh Vlasto, spokesman for New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, noted that the state hired attorney Irwin Raij last month to assist in negotiations. Raij specializes in stadium development projects and lease agreements. He was most recently represented Guggenheim Baseball Management in buying the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Vlasto also noted that Cuomo included spending millions of dollar to retain the Bills among his list of “critical economic development projects.”

The state has a large stake in keeping the Bills, because the team is estimated to generate between $15 million and $20 million in state taxes. Erie County also has a stake, because it controls the stadium lease.

Brandon sidestepped a question of how confident he was that a deal with all the parties would be completed.

“I’m very confident that we have our ducks in the proverbial row to sit down and have meaningful and thoughtful conversations with our stakeholders,” he said. “It’s our No. 1 initiative. So we’re always ready and willing to talk at the drop of a hat. We’re ready to go at any point, and have been over a year.”

The Bills are also negotiating with Rogers Communications to renew a five-year series of home games Buffalo plays in Toronto. The current deal runs out this year after the Bills “host” the Seattle Seahawks in Canada’s largest city and financial capital on Sept. 16.

Brandon said he expects to resume discussions with Rogers officials within the next three weeks. He said talks were delayed because the team was focused on training camp, the start of the season and lease negotiations.

Brandon said lease talks will have no effect on renewing the deal to play in Toronto.


Associated Press writers Michael Virtanen, in Albany, N.Y., and Carolyn Thompson, in Buffalo, contributed to this report.