FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 4, 2022
JCOPE MUST INVESTIGATE HOCHUL’S BUFFALO BILLS DEAL: ATTORNEY GENERAL CANDIDATE MICHAEL HENRY
Deal made in secret could directly benefit Hochul’s husband in apparent violation of Public Officers Law; Could potentially benefit family of Secretary to the Governor
New York, NY — Attorney General candidate Michael Henry today requested a Joint Commission on Public Ethics investigation into Governor Kathy Hochul’s $850 million Buffalo Bills deal which is set to potentially benefit Delaware North. He also requested that JCOPE look into any potential violations by Hochul’s top aide.
Hochul’s husband, William Hochul, serves as general counsel to Delaware North, a multi-billion dollar food and hospitality company that operates concessions, dining and private boxes at the stadium. The deal hatched in secret violates her own “recusal memorandum” filed with JCOPE and further appears to breach §74 of the Public Officers Law.
“When we say, ‘Go Bills,’ we don’t mean ‘Go taxpayer Bills to Hochul’s husband,” said Henry.
“Under One Party Control, we no longer have an Attorney General willing to call out the apparent broad daylight corruption occurring on her ticket. Today, I am requesting that JCOPE open a full investigation into the violations of the Public Officers Law in relation to the secret Buffalo Bills deal,” Henry said.
Three days before the April 1 budget deadline, Governor Hochul announced a $1.4 Billion deal to construct a new Bills stadium in Orchard Park. It came one day after she froze Seneca Nation bank accounts to extract money for a gaming dispute, leaving residents on the reservation without access to money for food and necessities. The Times Union today reported that a top firm lobbied the Governor’s finance head late last year regarding the “Seneca Nation Compact” on behalf of Delaware North.
With these funds, Gov. Hochul then announced a $600 million state investment and $250 million Erie County investment, bringing the total taxpayer bill to $850 million.
Nobody knew the details until they were announced, not even Democrat Legislative Leaders, who told reporters they were left out of the final deal.
Further, Secretary to the Governor Karen Perschilli Keogh is married to a lobbyist at Bolton St. John’s, a firm that has long been retained as a lobbyist for Delaware North. Her husband, Michael Keogh, has directly lobbied for Delaware North as recently as 2021. Ms. Keogh also signed a recusal memorandum.
It is unclear from vague current filings if Bolton St.John’s participated in discussions related to the current deal, though they are still on retainer. JCOPE must look into this matter as well.
“We need to get to the bottom of how this opaque $850 million deal was made because New Yorkers are sick and tired of a corrupt Albany. Government needs to work for the people and it’s not meant to line the pockets of the favored few,” Henry said.
“Lawmakers should not greenlight corruption in this budget either. They must wait for a full investigation to take place,” Henry added.
A copy of the JCOPE investigation request is attached.