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Trump Still Says He's Interested In Bills Ownership



(WBEN) People close to Donald Trump say the New York City real estate executive and billionaire is serious about joining a Buffalo Bills ownership group, and has spoken with Bills management twice about proceeding with a possible purchase.

WBEN contributor Michael Caputo and Erie County Republican Party Chairman Nick Langworthy met with Trump this week in New York City and both said Trump is in the process of making an offer to buy the team or join an ownership group,

All of this comes after an April 1 interview with WBEN, when Trump first revealed his interest in purchasing the team, saying he had been approached by a group that wanted him to be part of such a move.

  "People have actually talked to me about the Bills." 
 - Donald Trump
with WBEN's John Zach & Susan Rose ,  4/1/14
 
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WBEN AUDIO


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" A group of people called me and asked 'would I be interested in investing', and I'll take a look at it," Trump said of Buffalo's NFL team, which will eventually have to be sold in the wake of owner Ralph Wilson's death last month at age 95.

A former owner of the USFL’s New Jersey Generals, Trump would need approval from the league, and have to gain their approval despite rules against owning NFL teams and gambling interests simultaneously.  While his organization operates casinos, he has said that much of that is held in publicly traded stock. 

Trump did not identify who had approached him for possible financing of a team purchase, but spoke about it and Buffalo Bills Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly often in the wide ranging interview. 

Kelly had spoken of his interest in someday being part of an ownership group that would buy the team after Wilson's death. Since then however  Kelly  underwent surgery in Buffalo last June to remove a squamous cell carcinoma from his upper jaw,  and is currently being treated with chemotherapy and radiation at Lennox Hill Hospital in New York City after a recurrence in one of his sinus cavities.

"He's going through a very tough time and we wish him the best." Trump said. "...  I spoke to him two days ago, he called me.. he's going through a very tough time, and he sounded actually really good."

Trump called Kelly a close friend and said  were it not for "a field goal here and there"  Kelly would have had more than one Super Bowl win.

The Buffalo Bills are held in a trust controlled by Wilson's widow Mary, with a sale considered possible before the end of the year, and Trump is apparently not the only one who may be interested.

A publicist for singer Jon Bon Jovi says the rock star wants to buy an NFL team and the Toronto Sun says  he has combined  with Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment -- the owners of the Maple Leafs and Toronto Raptors - as the public face of that possible ownership group. Toronto's  Rogers Communications has  also been mentioned as being interested in the team.  

California-based bond fund manager Jeffrey Gundlach has expressed interest in buying the Bills three years ago. Gundlach, who founded DoubleLine Capital, is a Bills fan and has ties to Buffalo.

 


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