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Alliance claims documents show Toronto group's plans

Rochester Business Journal
August 14, 2014

A non-profit formed two years ago to keep the Buffalo Bills from leaving under new ownership has found public documents indicating the intent of a group led by musician Jon Bon Jovi to move the team to Toronto, representatives said Thursday.

Bon Jovi, Rogers Communications Inc. executive Edward Rogers III and Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment chairman Lawrence Tanenbaum are among the reported bidders for the National Football League franchise.

The group’s initial bid reportedly was rejected by investment bank Morgan Stanley because it was not in line with a provision in the Bills’ stadium lease agreement that prohibits a sale of the team to a prospective owner who plans to move it from Buffalo.

 It reportedly was allowed to submit a revised bid.

“If true, this development begs the question of what assurances were made and also whether these assurances are credible, given what is known about this group,” the Buffalo Fan Alliance Inc. said in a 10-paragraph statement.

The alliance said it uncovered two documents that prove the group wants to move the franchise to Toronto.

One is a news release from last month announcing the appointment of Toronto businessman Rajiv Rai to the board of Toronto-based investment firm Pinetree Capital that describes Rai as an adviser to Rogers Communications and who “is part of the ownership group attempting to acquire and move the Buffalo Bills to Toronto,” the alliance said.

An edited release the next day was without the reference to the Bills franchise, the alliance said.

The reference is also included in a filing involving a public disclosure about Rai on Canada’s System for Electronic Document Analysis and Retrieval, the alliance said.

“Ironically, these disclosures come at a time when the Bon Jovi-Rogers-Tanenbaum group is attempting to convince those involved in the sale process, and also the Western New York community in general, that they won’t relocate the Bills if they’re successful in  acquiring the team,” alliance representatives said.

Buffalo Sabres and Rochester Americans hockey owner Terrence Pegula is believed to be the favored bidder for the Bills. Donald Trump reportedly also has submitted an offer. The Associated Press has reported that Paychex Inc. founder Thomas Golisano has submitted a bid, as well.

(c) 2014 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email service@rbj.net.


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