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Golisano interested in buying Bills

Irondequoit, N.Y. -- Students at Bishop Kearney High School didn't expect billionaire Tom Golisano to talk about sports during his visit Thursday to the school.

Golisano asked students if they wanted to hear about the Buffalo Bills. They cheered. He broke his silence, confirming he was interested in buying the team to keep them in Western New York.

Golisano said he's waiting to see the team's financial book before deciding whether to make a bid and how much. He said he will do everything "reasonable" to buy the team but won't pay an absurd amount.

He said the Bills are an important asset to Western New York, both psychologically for fans, and financially for the city and state. He said there are potential buyers that want to move the team to Toronto or Los Angeles, and he doesn't want to see that happen.

Golisano said he felt the same way when the Buffalo Sabres were in danger of leaving. That's why he bought the team in 2003 before eventually selling them to Terry Pegula in 2011.

Golisano was invited to Kearney so students and staff could thank him for all he has done for the school. Most recently, Golisano helped secure financing so Bishop Kearney could buy the school from the Christian Brothers. They presented him with a portrait of students and faculty that read, "Thank You, Mr. Golisano."

He said he supports the school because it offers a faith-based education that results in high graduation rates and academic success. All students graduated this year, and all but one will go on to college.

Golisano also put to rest rumors he is partnering with Medley Center Owner Scott Congel to build a new stadium on land Congel owns in Buffalo.

Golisano said there is no partnership and no deal. He said he knows Congel and has talked to him about the Bills and a stadium, but said there was never any deal or partnership. He blamed the media for putting the rumor out there.

As for a new stadium, he said it doesn't make sense to build a new one when you've already spent $130 million to renovate the old one. He said state lawmakers will do anything to keep the team in Western New York.

Golisano said once the financial books are released, he will decide whether to make an offer to buy the team.

He said there will be a new owner by September or October, and he said the team will stay in Western New York.

On a personal note, Golisano confirmed he and former professional tennis star Monica Seles are engaged. She was there and posed for pictures with students.

Golisano told the students he was proud of their success and hoped that Kearney could grow to the enrollment levels it had in the 1970s.

 
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Washington Times