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Jim Kelly, Jon Bon Jovi have discussed joining forces to buy the Bills

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In an act of mutual desperation, the Jon Bon Jovi and Jim Kelly groups have had conversations about joining forces in pursuit of the Buffalo Bills.

Multiple sources on both sides of the border have told The Buffalo News that Bon Jovi and his Toronto-based partners reached out to Kelly within the past five days for a Hail Mary attempt to help salvage their beleaguered bid.

Kelly, unable to hook on with anybody else, has at least considered the possibility.

The News was unable to confirm where discussions between the groups stood Saturday night. But sources in Western New York, Toronto and Manhattan said talks have occurred.

Kelly and his brother, Dan Kelly, have met with several potential ownership groups since Ralph Wilson died in March, but the Kellys haven't been able to strike a bidding partnership.

The Kellys and bond investor Jeffrey Gundlach, an Amherst High grad, met with the Bills' trust Aug. 7. How much money the Kellys have raised with Gundlach and the terms of their association aren't known. But they apparently haven't accumulated enough to be a bidder. They instead asked the trust to match them with an established group.

Whether Gundlach was involved in Jim Kelly's talks with Bon Jovi is unclear.

Two sources familiar with the sales process told The News the Kellys have made lofty partnership demands: 2 percent equity in the team, lifetime jobs for Jim and Dan, an up-front cash payment for their services and final say on all football decisions.

Two sources said Donald Trump, a Bills bidder and longtime Kelly friend from their USFL days, found those terms unacceptable.

Another source said it was believed the Kellys will give up football decision-making if they join the Bon Jovi group.

Dan Kelly did not return calls or texts seeking comment.

Morgan Stanley, the bank overseeing the sale for the Bills' trust, did not return an email asking for comment. The Bon Jovi group, Jim Kelly and Gundlach each signed a nondisclosure agreement with the trust and would need written permission to speak about a Bills purchase.

(UPDATE: After this story was published, a Morgan Stanley spokesperson contacted The News to say, "No comment.")

The Kellys have not met with Buffalo Sabres owner Terry Pegula and his wife, Kim. The Pegulas are considered front-runners to own the Bills.

It was Kelly's backup, Frank Reich, who orchestrated the famous playoff victory known simply as The Comeback. The Bon Jovi group thinks Kelly could pull off what many would consider an even bigger Bills miracle.

Bon Jovi's bid is in dire need of a public-relations boost after a series of missteps that have only deepened skepticism.

Kelly certainly would help. The Hall of Fame quarterback led the Bills to four straight Super Bowls. He has been an inspiring figure over the years as he dealt with his son's death and recurring cancer.

Kelly theoretically would vouch for the group's integrity and sincerity about keeping the Bills in Western New York.

The Bon Jovi group has credibility issues. Fans and politicians are convinced it would move the Bills to Toronto. The group includes Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment chairman Larry Tanenbaum and the family behind Canadian behemoth Rogers Communications.

Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment CEO Tim Leiweke was hired last year to help bring the NFL to Toronto. Rogers Communications paid the Bills to stage preseason and regular-season games in Toronto from 2008 through 2013.

Bon Jovi, trying to neutralize public disdain, addressed Bills fans in a letter to The News two weeks ago. The decision backfired. Bon Jovi made no guarantees the team would stay. Too many questions remained unanswered.

The Buffalo Fan Alliance on Thursday produced documents that listed Rogers Communications consultant Roger Rai as part of an ownership group "attempting to acquire and move the Buffalo Bills to Toronto."

A source close to the Bon Jovi group told The News on Friday there was "major tension" within it. Another source formerly involved in the sales process said the Bon Jovi group is "unfocused and disorganized."

  • Pete Swales

    The Bob Jovi group sure is slick !!!!!!! DON'T DO IT JIM, they are just using you !!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Wayne Lester

    IF THIS NEWS IS TRUE... (AND I HOPE IT'S NOT)
    Now we know it's true what they used to say about Jim Kelly.... He's as dumb as a linebacker... and we also now know the reason we never won a Superbowl.... This is a sad (back stabbing) day for the Bills.... The Kellys give Buffalo "A BAD NAME"!!!

    • Haswyg

      Is a "stabing" similar to a stabbing?

    • Terrier1

      ...and Jim Kelly's daughter is credible?????

  • Haswyg

    "Jill Kelly @HJKforever

    Quick update on all the Jim ownership rumors. The things that you are being told by @ByTimGraham and the media are NOT ACCURATE!"

    Stellar reporting, TBN and Tim.

    • Wayne Lester

      If the story isn't true... then what is the truth?

    • Wayne Lester

      So share the link to TBN and Tim then.

    • Terrier1

      And Jill is an objective commentator on what's going on?????

  • Dave Kaetzel

    Really Jim ! We loved you as a Bill, now you do this to us. The Bills are more than Jim Kelly, they are BUFFALO ! Tear down his number and exile him from Bills country, for God's sake Jim, they aren't even American. Number 12 is dead to me , as he should be to all Bills Country ! Turn coat should be ashamed of himself, i am for him.

    • Cannibal King

      Wow... a second rate reporter for a third rate newspaper has that much control over you? I hear the Moonies are recruiting...

  • kevin maguire

    Please Jim...don't fall for the CANADIANS ploy. they want the NFL in Toronto and would do anything to get it there. We Buffalonians need this team here, not north of the border. It would be another dark day for the city if JBJ wins the bidding process because he USED Jimbo to fool the Wilson trust. IN PEGULA WE TRUST!

  • Austin Hood

    There's an old saying in life, "If you want to get to where you want to go, you need to first help others get to where they want to go first."

    If Bon Jovi and his pals are willing to meet the price and also put it in writing that they will keep the Bills in Buffalo in perpetuity, I'm sure the Wilson Trust might look at their bid more seriously.

    Instead, if Bon Jovi is relying on Smoke and Mirrors and public relations gimmicks he's sadly misinformed.

    My prediction? Terry Pegula and his wife will be the new owners. Final price, $1.5 billion dollars COB (Cash on the Barrelhead.) LOL

    • Wayne Lester

      If you believe Bon Jovi will ever keep the Bills in Buffalo then you must be one of the belivers that EJ will take us to the Super Bowl this year :)

      • Austin Hood

        No, I don't believe Bon Jovi will ever keep the Bills in Buffalo. That's why he's probably not going to get what he wants i.e. to own the team because he's not willing to give the Buffalo public what they want, which is to keep the team in Western New York.

      • repomania

        or ever.

    • Wayne Lester

      There is also another old saying in life "Don't bite the hand that fed you".

    • Jester

      How do they get past the lease? You know, the one that says NYS, Erie County and the NFL all have to give approval to any owner that intends to move the team before the lease expires?

    • Jester

      Yeah, right, because Pegula is going to pay that much... Even with no other bidders.

    • Rick C

      Agree 100% with your prediction. Easy to see that one.

  • Wayne Lester

    If this news is true it will be a Kareer Killer for Kelly.

    • adminsnark

      Did you try to make a KKK reference or did you just misspell "career"?

      • Wayne Lester

        neither

      • Wayne Lester

        It's called Alliteration.

  • ptato22

    I think Kelly is a great guy and a super ambassador for Buffalo, but I question his ability to be a good owner. He'd want to get too involved in GM type stuff is my guess, and really what experience does he have running billion dollar enterprises. Hopefully, whoever the new owner turns out to be can offer him something where doesn't need to make any real critical decisions. No disrespect intended, but it is not easy making both football and financial decisions well enough to produce a winner. Although, then again how could things be any worse than the past 15 years?

    • Steve Schmitt

      He ran a bar in Buffalo. Stuck it to a lot of vendors before closing it. Sounds like high quality management material.

      • Cannibal King

        That bar sucked.

  • Wayne Lester

    This is all JK needs... all of Buffalo already knows that as a Bills quarterback he is a hot steaming pile of dog terd and... OH WAIT!!!... I was thinking of EJac Manuel :)

  • Wayne Lester

    Let's wait for Jim Kelly to come out and tell his Lie... I mean his side of the story... before we hang him by his foot Ball sack.

  • Wayne Lester

    A source close to the Bon Jovi group told The News on Friday there was "major tension" within it. Another source formerly involved in the sales process said the Bon Jovi group is "unfocused and disorganized."... Sounds like he would fit right in with the current Bills staff :)

  • repomania

    haha priceless!

  • Jester

    Look, this is all rumor. No details have been released by the trust. All that is certain is that the Bills have failed to generate the offers that were expected. So the non binding bid process was extended indefinitely. That has been confirmed by Morgan Stanley.

    And no, Pegula did not bid 1.3 billion, because that would be the new record for the sale price of an NFL team. If he did, they would be moving forward now.

    The only reason that the bank would extend the date to get more offers is so legal experts have tine to look the lease over for a way out of it. One if the reasons stated in forbes for the low bids was the lease.

    And I can't understand how this bull about Bon Jovi got started again. The man that the drunk alliance "found" is not a part of the investment group, and the comments were made months before the new lease was signed. So even if those were his thoughts, the new lease ended that.

    • Rick C

      Umm, if no details were truly available then you certainly wouldn't know if Pegula bid $1.3 billion would you? Besides, this whole deal is smoke and mirrors to get the price up to $1.5-1.6 billion range so the NFL doesn't look like they were upstaged by the NBA with the LA Clippers deal. You gotta realize that they are thinking about that $2 billion for a basketball team and how out of whack that is.

      • Jester

        I know what the highest price ever paid for an NFL team is, and I'm pretty sure if that was topped by over 400 million someone would have said, SOLD. So, using your logic, how come the Jags sold for less than the Dolphins? Didn't the NFL try to drive up the price?

        And you have to realize that the NBA and the NFL are totally different leagues. Also the Clippers are in L.A. So the market value is slightly higher there because of the strong corporate presence.

  • AGM1

    No way will Jim Kelly sell himself to JudasBon Jovi for three sheckels or three pieces of silver.

    • Jeaniec

      AGM: "When "Terry and Kim Pegula purchase the Bills, I think they will make Jim Kelly an offer to work with the team

      • AGM1

        Jean, I have had that thought in the back of my mind all along. Bet it will happen at the right time.

        • Jeaniec

          AG: I just hope that the Pegulas dont have to pay an arm and an leg for the team. I think there's a lot of hype to drive up the price.

          • AGM1

            Absolutely! Ralph in all his greatness is negotiating this from his grave. He still moves people! He did plan wisely and deserves the credit. His legacy will do much with the monies that will be donated to society in the years and years to come.

          • Cannibal King

            Heck, they can afford it. And, when I say "they", I mean "he". The trophy wife is along for the ride.

      • david6380

        Kelly could be a fine ambassador for the Bills, health permitting. I've often wondered why people assume Kelly is wealthy to the point of being able to join such a partnership; I don't think he is. Regardless, people who can't stand Kelly and/or his family were handed an alleged additional reason and those who admire Kelly and his family could see this as another attempt to keep the Bills in Buffalo...allegedly.

        • Cannibal King

          He's not... which is why he's not a part of any buying group. He is what he is... self promoter.

    • Cannibal King

      That would be Loony!

  • Rick C

    Pretty sad that Jim Kelly is so desperate to be in an ownership group that he would sign on with Bon Jovi. NOT a way to endear yourself to the fawns of the team if this is true.

  • Jeaniec

    Here's what Jill Kelly has to say:

    "Kelly's wife Jill isn't happy about the Buffalo News report concerning Bon Jovi. She tweeted out Saturday night: "To think that anyone would think for a minute that Jim would ever link up with ownership that would move our BELOVED BILLS is ludicrous."

    http://www.wgrz.com/story/sports/nfl/future-of-the-bills/2014/08/16/reports-kelly-talking-to-potential-bills-owners/14178643/

    • Terrier1

      Jill Kelly isn't exactly an objective observer of what's going on.
      I'm glad she found Jesus...living with a selfish, egotistical buffoon like Jim Kelly might have driven a lesser woman to drink!

      • BuffaloFan4Life

        Well guess what Terrier, the selfish, egotistical buffon found Jesus with his wonderful wife. Perhaps THAT'S why she's stayed married to him? Or perhaps he's really not the selfish buffoon you make him out to be?

        • Terrier1

          I judge him by his actions...he is a selfish, egotistical boor. He used his position as a local sports hero to stiff vendors of his failed nightclub and then followed that up by involving people in a "get rich quick" pyramid scheme. Instead of sitting on the sidelines, waiting for a new Bills owner to offer him a PR position - he tries to get his buddy a seat at the table and a job for life for his brother. I wonder how much his friend is paying him to gain an entre to the team? He certainly isn't doing it for free.
          If he were truly such a fantastic football genius - why hasn't he coached anything - not even a Pop Warner team??? Oh wait - he does show up at his overpriced football camp...how generous of him!
          His wife has gone off the deep end re: religion - but I can totally understand why.

      • Jeaniec

        Just a thought. I think if there was some truth to the Jon Bovi team up, Jill probably wouldn't say anything.

  • Big Jake

    "the Kellys have made lofty partnership demands: 2 percent equity in the team, lifetime jobs for Jim and Dan, an up-front cash payment for their services and final say on all football decisions"

    If true, those are amazingly outrageous, arrogant, and shameful demands.

    • boxgreen

      "outrageous, arrogant, and shameful demands"

      And this surprises anyone, why???? I truly feel sorry that Kelly has had some horrible things happen with his son and his health, things no one should ever go through. But that doesn't make him the saint and demigod that Buffalo has made him.

      Can anyone honestly say he'd be as revered as he is now if he didn't experience the tragedy in his personal life? Those ownership demands he is making are exactly par for the course for the pre-sainted Jim Kelly. A tiger doesn't change his stripes. Good luck finding any partner to agree with them.

    • Cannibal King

      Why is that shameful? Demands... whatever... Graham's just stirring the pot. Kelly is trying to join a group. He's not putting demands on anyone. Those might be his preferred terms, but he's hardly in the position to make demands. Why does everybody fall for these writers garbage?

      • Big Jake

        No offense, but I'll take the word of sources connected to the negotiations over you, especially since pretty much everything that the BN has printed and attributed to these sources connected to the negotiations has been proven accurate. Your assertion that Graham is "just stirring the pot" and that what he's writing is "garbage" are the most unproven comments on this thread. What is YOUR source? How about Kelly address the issue directly to refute what Graham wrote?

        • Cannibal King

          So a guy with no real money in this game of billionaires makes demands on a prospective owner? My source is common sense. My point is Graham using the word "demands". That would imply Kelly has some leverage... which he clearly does not have if it is to be believed that he is jumping from group to group trying to find a taker. Graham writes that BJB group reached out to Kelly.

          • Big Jake

            Kelly thinks he has leverage; he thinks his name means something in the business world, but it doesn't. He is not an asset to any ownership group. In Buffalo, he's a big fish in a very small pond. On the rest of the planet, he's a very small fish, period. What's most troubling is that Kelly has been this advocate for the Bills, lobbying for the team to stay in Buffalo, presumably for the fans. Now it appears his whole charade was to benefit himself and his brother. That's a problem.

          • goggles pisano

            That is who he is. For all the things he has done, they have all come a distant second to #1, Jim Kelly.

          • Cannibal King

            We've known that Kelly is all about himself since he refused to sign with the Bills and went to that joke USFL. He's paraded around here acting like the king of Buffalo and portrays himself as some martyr to all causes Jim Kelly. He's just trying to cash in again. But, he's on the outside looking in and I think it's a stretch to paint him as shameful. Who's ashamed? He's a clown and the billionaire club seems to be laughing at his so called demands. I don't see this as some charade, I see this as how he has always been. I guess I understand your position, but I'm just not sensative to anything about him. He came to Buffalo because he had to. He stayed in Buffalo because he was surrounded by Polian's greatness, he came back to Buffalo because his name means nothing anywhere else and now he's trying to cash in on his name

          • TRIP

            Wow, one article and your trashing Jim Kelly! Glad your not my friend.

          • Big Jake

            Actually I've never respected Kelly since he stiffed our hometown vendors out of hundreds of thousands of dollars while hiding under the veil of his corporation. Meanwhile, after f@#%$#% over the people who truly matter in this community for a few hundred grand, he wants us to believe that he can be part of a billion dollar deal. He's a charlatan. The quicker you realize that, the better off you'll be.

        • Jester

          The only source you can trust is Morgan Stanley and they aren't talking.

          • Don Manuszewski

            how do you know Graham's sources are inside Morgan Stanley? (I'm not saying they are)

  • Travis Moore

    Booo! Tim Graham's tweet saying this "Jim should ask Dan" feels overly defensive and insecure. I used to follow Tim Graham's stories. I will no longer do so.

  • El Elegante

    Doesn't anyone remember Jim Kelly and Dan doing Mickey Mouse phone card pyramid scheme about 10-15 years ago? I do.

    • El Elegante

      Even Donald Trump told Jim and Dan to take a hike. Think about it.

      • BuffaloFan4Life

        Nice reply to yourself there El. Do you talk to yourself often? Based on your posts, I believe you do. But I digress. When and where did Donald Trump tell the Kellys to "take a hike"? Can you point me to the article?

        • El Elegante

          Did you read the article, 2 sentences where Dan and Jim were told by Trump that his demands were not met. The same ones apparently presented to Bon Jovi.

          • El Elegante

            Yeah I do reply to myself after posting one thought. If another comes to, I post again vs editing.

    • Rollo Tomasei

      No...what are you refering to?

    • BuffaloFan4Life

      Yes he did get involved with a network marketing company El. However, that company was not called "Mickey Mouse Phone Card Pyramid Scheme." It was and still is called 5Lynx. They are a legal, legitimate successful network marketing company specializing in telecommunications, much like ACN. Obviously network marketing, or multilevel marketing is not for everyone. But it has worked out pretty well for the founders and distributors of a little company called Amway for the past 60 years or so. In fact, Amway has become so main stream successful, the Orlando Magic play in the Amway Center.

      So first of all, the Kellys were not involved in an illegal pyramid scheme. Secondly, for all you or anyone else knows, they still be making thousands of dollars per month quietly as 5Lynx distributors. Or, they may have been paid a promotional fee for a year or two and then decided the business was not for them. In any case, you are simply joining the ingnorant group of idiots out here who go to any length to take cheap shots at Jim Kelly. Congratulations.

      • Cannibal King

        5linx may not be "illegal", but the FTC has clearly researched and documented that MOST participants in MLM programs lose money. A successful 5linx distributor even says in his Youtube video that 95% of those participating don't succeed. MLMs make the founders and very, very few distributors real money. 5linx in particular targets lower socioeconomic people as a way to get rich when in fact those people rarely have the network or required skill sets to truly advance.

        • BuffaloFan4Life

          So what? I already mentioned it's not for everybody. My point is that 5LINX was and still is NOT a pyramid scheme, and that it was ignorant to trash the Kellys for trying one out or representing one for a few years.

        • TRIP

          What is new about that, half the stuff we buy to eat is killing us. Anytime someone is doing business to maximize dollars it hurts most everyone else!

          • Cannibal King

            And yet people live longer than ever! Big pharma is certainly maximizing dollars overcoming all that lethal food. Invest in pharm companies and energy companies... I did... virtually guaranteed growth and returns. At least I live comfortably while I await my imminent demise!

      • El Elegante

        No one called it illegal. Just because I used the word "pyramid" does not describe legality. You said it. My point is, how can Jim Kelly be taken serious if he is involved with this type of marketing? This is small timer stuff. BTW, ho wmuch do you have invested in 5lynx? Just a regular household name that one. haha. Awfully long reply to clear Jim's name here. Good for you. I'm not after his character, I'm pointing out his after football business, and just because Jim is involved doesn't make it a Fortune 500 company. See the complaints on this same thread about his time running the Network.

  • jpjazz

    "that Bon Jovi and his Toronto-based partners reached out to Kelly within the past five days"

    The reach could have been an email, voice message, contact through a 3rd party, etc. Bon Jovi probably also reached out the Wolf Blitzer, Ron Jaworski and Larry King!

    • BuffaloFan4Life

      Or not reached out at all. Bon Jovi may have made a sarcastic comment to a friend within earshot of one of Bucky and Tim's "trusted sources" like: "maybe we should see if Jim Kelly will join us", and then both Bon Jovi and the friend may have laughed their butts off. The "trusted source" then made it into the "story" above - this is life in the 24 hour 7 day a week world of twitter reporting where nobody ever has to confirm anything anybody says.

  • Rich

    I still think Pegula will prevail. And it is sad to see Kelly grasping for a piece of the action. The fella should stop making a fool of himself and let the big money boys sort this out.

  • Niagara Falls, New York

    Kelly's a schmuck. He's just trying to keep his cushy front office job.

    • BuffaloFan4Life

      Yeah what a schmuck. A four time consecutive SB QB (and despite not winning any of them, the only starting NFL QB to ever lead his team to 4 straight SB's), an all time best Buffalo Bills QB, an NFL Hall of Fame QB inducted in the first year he was eligible, a father of an only son who had a terrible disease and had to suffer un-imaginable pain along with the entire Kelly family and then had to watch the boy die, a man who has suffered from cancer in his mouth, had to undergo massive chemo-therapy and radiation treatments and massive pain to go along with them, losing over 50 pounds, and a man who has come through all of that who still showed up for his football camp, still has a strong relationship with Jesus, and still stays positive and is an inspiration for every Buffalo Bills fan. And oh just one more minor fact, a man who has raised help raise millions of dollars for the treatment and research of Crabbe's disease, and even beyond that has also helped raised the awareness of the importance of more thorough pre-birth testing in all 50 states.

      What a schmuck he is, right?

      • Niagara Falls, New York

        He's a schmuck. Reed and Lofton took the team to the SB's, not Kelly.

        • BuffaloFan4Life

          Right, I get it. And it is still my opinion that you are ignorant for saying it.

        • TRIP

          Lofton wasn't around for Superbowl 25, last I checked WR's rely on a good QB getting them the ball. If a WR is successful then he had a successful QB throwing them the ball. Your logic is lacking!

      • Paul Bruhns

        ...Fan4Life, I think we want to vilify anyone connected in anyway to the JBJ Ownership group as it pursues the Bills. I think people would even shun christianity if Jesus aligned himself to JBJ at this point. I mean seriously, JBJ couldn't buy a beer in Buffalo, let alone the team. I am enjoying all this negative love...it's great!
        Jim has never been the sharpest tool in the shed... and yeah, he's got "brother" issues, and it appears to me that he wants to be relevant in the landscape, could he have aligned himself to the devil? I hope not! But, hey it's provocative stuff to write about, isn't it?

        • BuffaloFan4Life

          Absolutely provocative, Paul. But I just can't stand the cheap shots at Jimbo. I wonder how any single one of these Kelly bashers would stand up to the pain and tragedy Jim and Jill Kelly have endured? As for this article? Sorry, I don't believe a single word of it. I choose to believe Jill's response.

          Besides, if Jim and Dan Kelly are negotiating to join any group bidding on the Bills (other then the Bon Jovi bid because that is a lie in my opinion), who cares? The last time I checked, it's still a free country. Idiot Niagara Falls on this blog can negotiate with the Trump group to join as long as it falls within the rules laid out by the Trust.

    • Cannibal King

      "Schmuck" refers to a stupid or foolish person which Kelly is neither. "Shmok" in Yiddish means "penis". He may be a d*ck, but i don't really know about all that. He is a megalomaniac though.

      • Niagara Falls, New York

        He's a self centered alpha male schmuck.

  • jwdundee

    Lifetime jobs without consequences? Who do they think they are, Russ Brandon?

    • BuffaloFan4Life

      Outstanding take, jw, I laughed out loud. And, I was thinking more along the lines of Darcy Regier. But even his job didn't last a life time. On the other hand, since Tim & Bucky and every other writer opining about the sale use their infamous "un-named sources" for all of this information, I have my doubts that the Kellys ever made such proposterous demands to any ownership group or to the Trust in the first place.

      • jwdundee

        I can see him using his status and name recognition to move something forward and want to be compensated for that. That wouldn't be wholly unreasonable. Probably not the disclosed terms, but I don't very highly he would be doing it out of the kindness of his heart. As for Russ, he's a slippery fellow. He has naked pictures of someone for the staying power he has held in that front office.

      • Cannibal King

        Graham might have it 100% correct on what Kelly wants to join a group. But, that's his selling price... hardly a demand. He's on the supply side, not the demand. Apparently, there is no demand for what he's selling if he's jumping group to group. BJB reached out... desperation on both sides. I'm tired of the "unnamed sources" garbage, too.

  • Jim Belina

    "Unfocused and disorganized" - just like this article.

  • joe

    kelly obviously does not have the wherewithal to buy the bills, and no one wants a washed up old qb sucking money from them!

  • bcal001

    it's not true I wish these news hounds would get their crap together before writing something like this

    • Cannibal King

      They write it to sell papers. How easy is it to write, "Two sources familiar with the sales process..."... it's just that easy! Who do they have to prove their sources to? Nobody. Not even their editors. AND, they have legal protections that allow for it. Name 1 damn source... you're right - it's crap.

      • TRIP

        Tim Graham's credibility is at stake here, I for one think Tim made a huge mistake writing story. He has some beef with the Kelly family! He also knows Jim can't comment on this because of the non-disclosure agreement. When all is said and done Tim Graham will suffer from writing this article true or not.

  • Austin Hood

    The Wilson Trust will be looking for a solid player who can meet their price with cold, hard cash on the barrel head and want to keep the team here in Western New York.

    The only player that I can see with those qualifications is Terry Pegula. He's liquid for that kind of money and the good news is that he wants to keep the Bills in Buffalo.

    I'm sure Ralph Wilson left instructions to the trust that if it was at all possible, they should sell the team to someone who not only can meet their price, but wants to keep it right here in Western New York.

    My prediction? The new owner will be Terry Pegula, and the final price will be between $1.3 and $1.5 billion dollars.

    None of these other suitors meet the criteria for a successful sale. They either don't have sufficient money or they will not offer assurances that the team will stay here in Western New York.

    • Jester

      I guess Rogers with his personal wealth of 7.9 Billion doesn't have the cash, huh?

      • Austin Hood

        No, because his is part of the Bon Jovi Group and they won't keep the Bills here in Western New York.

        • Susan

          And you know that for sure ? Do you have a magic ball?

          • Austin Hood

            It's my best educated guess. Anyone associated with Con Jovi, I mean Bon Jovi is box office poison by now. but, I could be wrong. LOL

      • TRIP

        Any NFL owner has to have mostly cash to buy team, can't take out loan for more than 30% I believe. That Toronto group would have to liquidate some of their assets, where Pegula has at least 1.75 billion in liquid assets from a sale of land recently. Pegula also owns land where he can sell more or drill again. He by far fits what Roger Goddell and owners have stated they want in any NFL ownership. NFL prefers single ownership!

    • Paul Bruhns

      it amazes me how you know so much about everything Austin... how you know what Ralph Wilson's instructions to the trust are? Did you sign a non disclosure agreement on the Bills sale process? of course not.

      • Austin Hood

        It's called common sense. If you were Ralph Wilson what would you have put in the trust?

        Assuming that he did care about Buffalo and did want the team to remain here if it was all possible, I'm sure that would have been his instructions.

        And, don't forget the small matter of his wife, who remains very much alive. I'm sure she has a great input in the final decision and more than likely she is the deal breaker on accepting all the bids.

        So, instead of criticizing me, why not ask yourself what you would hav done had you created a trust to manage the Buffalo Bills?

        • Paul Bruhns

          Austin... I'm sure you are a good person, but you "irk" me with your know all attitude about all things. You have everything going for you but the facts. I'll shut up now.

          • Austin Hood

            This is not a question for me trying to be a know it all. This is my best educated guess. How else would Ralph Wilson write the Bills Trust?

            He would want his wife financially protected. He would want the team to continue running efficiently. And, if he truely wanted the team to stay in Buffalo he would say something like, "Do the best you can to find a buyer who will give you a good price and keep the team in Buffalo."

            Seriously, how else could you word the Trust? Now, I'm sure the lawyers would have to spell it out in their legaleze, but the main thrust of the Trust would be, "Sell the team to the highest bidder who will keep the team in Buffalo, and manage it with the teams best interest at heart."

            Now, the caveat would be that if push comes to shove and they can't find a buyer who will keep it locally, then sell it to
            whoever they have to. Now, ultimately, I would make his wife as the final decision maker.

            So, tell me, how this is a "Know it all" attitude? Ask any attorney how they would structure a trust like this. It's not a mystery. It's not rocket science. This is a case of Ralph Wilson leaving his final imprint on the team.

      • TRIP

        The Bills lease makes Wilson's wishes known. Erie County will sue anyone that tries to move the team. Majority of owners will be against the move except for Jones and Kraft, money huggers. As far as Kelly goes, we all know his history. What I know is Jill Wagoneer saved Jim Kelly and he has become a upstanding family man. I am sure everyone has done things they wish they never did personally and business wise. Kelly is not the Bills Savior but a member of the Bills family!

        • Paul Bruhns

          I agree with your thoughts on JK... as for the lease, ok, I'll grant you the terms make it financially/ contractually implausible to move the Bills prior to 2020. I'm all happy about that. But neither I, nor anyone else out in Buffalo-ville at this point, knows what is in the trust, and whether any binding agreements are conveyed in sale. My sense is if Pagula gets the team, we can all breathe easy...until the team starts losing money. If the league starts losing money, I'm guessing there will be a whole lot more Krafts and Jones' pushing for a cure

          • TRIP

            The Bills are always in the middle of the league in revenue, that is not a issue.

  • GB

    Everyone loves and respects Jim Kelly. Anything other than the Pegulas being the next owner would be a disaster. If JK screws this up people will turn on him like a pack of wolves. PERSONAL to Jim -> back off, work on your health, we need you in Buffalo as the face of our team.

    • Bill Czerwiec

      Not everyone loves a respects him.

      • Cannibal King

        You got that right.

      • GB

        Yea - you are right not everyone loves and respects Kelly, I should have said lots do. I do disagree about the Pegulas - I think they would be great as Bills owners.  First they would keep the team in Buffalo.  Pegula had a rough start with the Sabres but realized his mistakes and correct them.  I think the Sabres are back on the path of a winning team.

  • Luther 6

    Would Jim be in a position to prevent the majority-owner partners from preventing a move based on the demands listed?

  • GB

    If the facts stated by Graham are correct it just looks like desperation. Just read what Dan Kelly is asking for - lifetime employment, upfront cash and final decision on football moves. What makes the Kelly brothers football expects - the fact that Jim was a great QB ? We honor your accomplishments Jim - but tell us publicly this Bon Jovi stuff is just tripe.

  • Don Manuszewski

    He may not get the "power" he would with other groups, but considering the Pegula's track record with the Sabres it would be hard to believe that there wouldn't be some role for Kelly in a Pegula owned team. We all remember the Perreault exchange at the opening press conference, embracing all the Alumni and others.

    • Cannibal King

      I see a Corporate & Community Relations Liason position in his future. Pegula learned his lesson with handing alumni president titles.

  • Bill Czerwiec

    Remember Jimmy boy never wanted to be here. When drafted he signed with the USFL and would have stayed if it didn't fold. Also he had a restaurant in downtown that went bust and failed to pay vendors $60K even though he was a millionare. He's always been a me.me,me, guy. The media kisses his butt and the locals seem to forget. The only reason he's here is he's treated like a king he and he craves the attention.

    • Jester

      Houston Gamblers, then demanded to be traded. Took a court order to get him to play here...

      • Bill Czerwiec

        Thanks for another reality check!!

    • Paul Bruhns

      hmmm... maybe so. He may have "big fish in a little pond" syndrome?

      • Cannibal King

        Megalomaniac. His picture is illustrated in the dictionary definition.

  • Datdude

    This is an all time low for Tim Graham. He has become an absolute shill and mouth peace for whatever false rumors ownership groups want to spread. Does anyone in their right mind believe Kelly, who is beloved in this area would even consider that? Judging by the comments below there are enough dim whits to believe it. Jill Kelly's tweet says it all. Tim Graham, you are shameless and pathetic.

    • guest

      You're funny.

      • Datdude

        You're funny also, thanks!

    • Bill Czerwiec

      Funny how you won't use your real name. Truth is Kelly isn't the savior. Maybe the dimwit is in your mirror. Everything I stated is fact. You're either too young or forgetful of his history. In fact there were stories that Kelly and company were all hung over for SB 25 and would have won if it wasn't the case. They thought they were invincible!!

    • Cannibal King

      mouthpiece...

    • Susan

      Get a life Datdude - you are shameless and pathetic.

  • Terrier1

    Why did Jim Kelly think he needed to pair up with ANYONE on a bid? He doesn't have the finances himself - his "partner" also lacks enough to be a serious bidder.
    If he weren't always so self-serving and egotistical - he would have sat on the sidelines and waited for the eventual owner to tap him on the bench and give him a PR role with the team...maybe even throw in a job for brother Dan.
    Now he is doing nothing but roiling the waters.
    I feel as badly as the next fan for the fight he's putting up against cancer.
    But chill out, Jim, sit back and wait for the new owner to find a place for you with the team. It's not all about you...

  • Jester

    Just thought that I'd post what was being written about the Bills sale from other news sources... This was from 12 days ago. Published on ESN, NESN, and other media outlets.

    Didn't see ANY reports bout Jim Kelly anywhere but in the Buffalo News. Also saw more than a few investors who were shying away from putting in bids due to the upcoming head injury lawsuit... People that had expressed an interest like Chris Sacca had backed off bidding.

    "Jon Bon Jovi is one step closer to owning an NFL team. The rock star, along with his Toronto-based partners, advanced to the final phase of the Buffalo Bills sale, and they’ll meet with the seller in Manhattan on Tuesday after their undisclosed rebid to buy the team was accepted, according to Canoe.ca.

    Bon Jovi’s group had difficulty convincing the seller that they wanted to keep the team in western New York. However, they eventually were able to assure them that they wouldn’t move the franchise. Bon Jovi has publicly made it clear that he wants the Bills to stay in Buffalo.

    Bon Jovi and his Toronto-anchored group plan to keep the franchise in the area by building a “state-of-the-art NFL stadium for the loyal Bills fans.

    "This is not a hobby or an acquisition. Building a winner on and off the field will be job one and I intend to spend as much time on the ground in Buffalo as needed to accomplish that goal.”

    • Susan

      JBJ will leave the team here - you fans need to back off.

      • Datdude

        I think you are letting your love of BJ's music distort your brainium. Take the BJ poster down from your wall already. Only people on the planet who believe this jackass are people who had teen crushes on that no talent hack.

        • Susan

          Datdude - you must not have a job or a life - I see many comments from you. Go have a beer ........

    • Rick C

      Pretty good, except of course that you are completely wrong.

  • Datdude

    Have not seen a writer run with unsubstantiated rumors like this outside of tabloids. BN has finally crossed the line into tabloid journalism. Next article, "Teenager impregnated by Bigfoot,

  • Jules Weinberg

    OMG!! Does anyone in their right mind think the Canadian group really wants to keep the team in Buffalo?? And if Kelly does align himself with this group it could be the largest PR flop of all time. Kelly has more to loose in this alignment than gain and the Canadians have more to gain than loose.

    • Susan

      The team will be kept in Buffalo - we need to keep the intoxicated fans happy.

  • GovernorGeorge

    Too bad Jack Kemp passed away. He would have been a great front man for a quality ownership group that would keep the Bills in Buffalo.

    • guest

      You are living in a past that never existed. Kemp and Kelly both used this area's people for their own selfish purposes.

  • ExpectResults

    The scurrying around by Jim Kelly is showing the reality that... Jim Kelly is all about Jim Kelly.

    Whatever support remains for Jim as a Buffalo Bill could be greatly affected by his posturing and desperation to align with Bon Jovi and Canadian investors. I no longer believe that Jim's #1 priority is to keep the Bills in Buffalo. Maybe its more about getting a piece of the action for his family.

  • TRIP

    Even if this article is somewhat correct, Tim Graham knows Kelly can't comment on the Bills sale due to the non-disclosure agreement. JBJ adding Kelly makes no sense because the NFL prefers single ownership and now your adding another entertainer to a NFL team ownership, won't work with the egos involved. Tim Graham is putting his reputation online with this article and he will wish he never wrote it. I for one am dropping Tim Graham to BN's trash writing list, gossip worthy only! I am sure Jim Kelly has made many business pitches to supply cash to Kelly Enterprises. Cancer treatment is very expensive and I am sure the insurance is not covering everything. Jim is just trying to provide for his family still while he can. There are allot of people who support and like Jim Kelly and his family. If you are one of those people that are spreading hatred of Jim Kelly because of his past and not looking at the whole picture of Jim Kelly's family then know people are watching and will remember, you left a permanent hate trail!

  • You can’t handle the truth

    Jill Kelly immediately came out and said this story is BS once it went public. Sounds like another case of the Buffalo News inventing stories to attract readers.

    • Terrier1

      Or Jill Kelly having blind faith in her husband.

      • Katie Claybourne

        Yep....keep the wives out of it except for Kim Pegula.

  • George Mikillfirth

    Throw it against the wall... see if it sticks.

  • Susan

    Hoping that Jim Kelly and Jon Bon Jovi join forces. I feel that Jon Bon Jovi would keep the Bills here so the fans would not be on the rampage that they are on now. JBJ is a good decent man who would do the right thing.

    • Big Jake

      "JBJ is a good decent man who would do the right thing"

      LOL.

  • Paul Bruhns

    A Quote from above:

    "Two sources familiar with the sales process told The News the Kellys have made lofty partnership demands: 2 percent equity in the team, lifetime jobs for Jim and Dan, an up-front cash payment for their services and final say on all football decisions."

    My immediate thought: In exchange for what, exactly? contribution of 2% of a Billion dollar purchase? It doesn't even make that assertion.

    This is such a nutty statement that I can't believe it can possibly be credible. Tim Graham stirred up a pretty big pot of $h!t.

    • GB

      Or maybe Jim Kelly stirred up the pot of $h!T. We get the impression that Kelly is long on cash. I bet those medical bills are piling up. But Paul has it right - 2% of the team + a barrel of cash and lifetime jobs for both Dan & Jim - why for what - there name ?

      • Steve Giardini

        their*

  • William Kyriakakos

    Tim Graham's nickname should be Josef Goebbels, the Minister of Propaganda for the Buffalo News

    • William Kyriakakos

      jbj's car took my sarcastic humor too seriously. My inference and comparison of the two is that both of them rely on fear-mongering and BS. The BN has been pumping the masses about the great "what if" the Bills moved. It's been pathetic.

  • Datdude

    Tabloid journalism at its finest. Only a troll could both write and believe this story.

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    • Andy Wulf

      Asia is a continent, not a country. What are they teaching kids in the Singapore schools?

      • Steve Giardini

        Apparently how to scam people.

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About the reporters

Vic Carucci returned to The Buffalo News as a Bills beat reporter in September. Carucci covered the Bills for 17 years before joining NFL.com 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.