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What does it mean that Mary Wilson is in control of the Buffalo Bills?


What does it mean that Mary Wilson has assumed controlling interest in the Buffalo Bills?

In short: Not much.

NFL bylaws mandate every club must have a single controlling owner, sometimes also referred to as the principal owner. When Bills founder Ralph Wilson died last week, a new one had to be appointed.

If anyone other than Mary Wilson had been announced controlling owner, then that would have been newsworthy.

This afternoon's announcement was a formality. It establishes the club's executive structure and begins the process for the team's eventual sale.

A controlling owner is required for voting on league matters, but can assign that role to another executive. When Ralph Wilson couldn't attend the NFL owners meetings in recent years, Bills president and CEO Russ Brandon or CFO Jeffrey Littmann would cast the team's vote.

A team source told me this afternoon that Brandon will retain his voting powers under Mary Wilson just as he did under her late husband.

  • Skip Bayless

    If it doesn't mean much, then why did I receive a "breaking news" alert on my phone?

    • John Baker

      There are a lot of "breaking news" alerts the team sends out that don't mean much. You must be new.

  • Jan Reimers

    Thanks, BN, for editing and deleting every one of my posts. I merely asked if Ralph had actually left the team to Mary - avoiding estate taxes and thereby making it easier to keep the team in Buffalo - or if she were only named as controlling owner to sell the franchise to the highest bidder.

    And I was moderated out. Why ask for comments when you are going to screen out every one that is somewhat controversial?

    • 5CornerEd

      You are getting 2 things mixed up. Estate taxes are tax paid on the money earn after you are dead. Inheritance tax is a tax on the value of your assets when passed to your heirs, the first $5.5 Million (?) passes untaxed, Federal and State.

      • Jan Reimers

        No, the federal estate tax applies when the deceased's estate transfers to another entity. If left to the spouse, the federal estate tax does not apply.

        States also impose estate taxes, which are sometimes called inheritance taxes. New York has estate taxes, but I'm not sure if Mary, as the spouse, would be exempt under New York law.

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Vic Carucci returned to The Buffalo News as a Bills beat reporter in September. Carucci covered the Bills for 17 years before joining as a columnist in 1999. Prior to rejoining The News, he spent three years as a senior editor for the Cleveland Browns.

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida.