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Tom Golisano would look at participation in buying Bills if team was ever in danger of leaving Western New York

by jmaloni
Thu, Oct 25th 2012 09:20 pm

In an exclusive interview on the WBBZ-TV program "Political Buzz," the billionaire owner of the Rochester based Paychex Company talked about the possibility he could be an owner of the Buffalo Bills someday.

Tom Golisano said, "I don't think anybody knows for sure that this team is going to be for sale, or available. I would assume Mr. Wilson is a very smart individual ... and I don't think he would get himself in a situation where it would be a forced sale. Now if it did happen, and the team was in danger of leaving, I have said that I would do what I could to participate, not a commitment, but I would certainly look at it, because I realize how important this franchise is to this community, just like the Sabres. ... I would hate to see the Buffalo Bills leave Buffalo, so whatever I could do that was logical and realistic, I would participate."

Golisano's political adviser, Steve Pigeon, appeared on the program as co-host with John Di Sciullo. Golisano discussed how Pigeon brought the idea to him to purchase the Buffalo Sabres hockey team in 2003, which he eventually sold to Terry Pegula in 2011. Golisano said he rejected a more lucrative offer that would have seen the team move out of Western New York.

Golisano discussed his latest political initiative in advancing passage of the National Popular Vote Bill. In an online video aired on the program, Golisano explained his mission to guarantee the presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in the entire U.S. The bill preserves the Electoral College, while ensuring every vote in every state will matter in every presidential election. The website he created is www.nationalpopularvote.com.

When asked if there was a personal connection to his philanthropic work, Golisano offered a rare personal revelation that he has a son who is developmentally challenged as the reason his B. Thomas Golisano Foundation started in 1985 with a donation helping those with developmental disabilities.

"There is a personal connection, and I don't talk about it much, " Golisano said. "I do have a son who is developmentally disabled. Steven lives in Rochester, works in a sheltered workshop, and lives in a mini group home with a set of house parents. Steven is 47 now, and with that connection you become very connected about the world of intellectual and developmental disabilities, so I started the foundation that, over the years, has grown to give out significant amounts of money."

Pigeon commented that the B. Thomas Golisano Foundation has donated more than $200 million to charities in Rochester, Buffalo, Niagara Falls and Florida.

Golisano left Rochester in 2009 and relocated to Florida citing the high tax rates in New York state. He commented that the money he has saved in paying taxes has been donated to worthy causes.

The exclusive hour long interview with Golisano aired Thursday at 6:30 p.m. on the WBBZ-TV program "Political Buzz," and can be seen again Friday at 9 a.m., as well as Sunday at 10 a.m.

WBBZ-TV is on Time Warner Cable Channel 5 in Buffalo/Niagara Falls (HD 710); TWC Channel 99 in Dunkirk; TWC Channel 21 in Olean; Channel 5 on Verizon FiOS (HD 505); Channel 5 on Dish Network; Channel 67 on DirecTV (where available); and Channel 67.1 over the air. WBBZ-TV is locally owned and operated by Phil Arno. Bob Koshinski is vice president and general manager.

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