Outside Counsel RFP Bids Received as County Prepares for Bills Stadium Lease Negotiations

February 10, 2012 Updated Feb 10, 2012 at 5:38 PM EDT

By WKBW News

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Outside Counsel RFP Bids Received as County Prepares for Bills Stadium Lease Negotiations

February 10, 2012 Updated Feb 10, 2012 at 5:38 PM EDT

(WKBW release) -- Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz announced Friday that 13 responses have been received from law firms interested in serving as outside counsel to Erie County during upcoming negotiations with the Buffalo Bills to renew the lease agreement for Ralph C. Wilson Stadium.

“We received responses from 13 law firms interested in serving as the County’s outside counsel during the upcoming stadium lease negotiations, including several firms from across the country,” Poloncarz said in a news release. “As one of my first acts as County Executive, I called on the County attorney to initiate the RFP process so that when the Bills completed their architectural survey and were ready to begin negotiations, the County would be ready as well.”

On January 3, 2012, Poloncarz signed several Executive Orders as his first order of business as Erie County Executive.  Executive Order #001—Procurement of Legal Services to Support Buffalo Bills Lease Negotiations, required the County Attorney to immediately commence a process to procure the services of special counsel to support the upcoming lease negotiations with the Buffalo Bills through the issuance of a Request for Proposals from qualified law firms. 

The RFP was issued on January 23, 2012 with responses from interested parties due by 3:00pm today, February 10, 2012.  Responses were received from law firms across the country and region, including: Bond Schoeneck & King PLLC (Buffalo, NY), Damon Morey LLP (Buffalo, NY), Hodgson Russ LLP (Buffalo, NY), Hogan & Willig (Buffalo, NY), Kavinoky & Cook LLP (Buffalo, NY), Lippes Mathias Wexler Friedman LLP (Buffalo, NY), Nixon Peabody LLP (Buffalo, NY), Pannone Lopes Devereaux & West LLC (Albany, NY), Phillips Lytle LLP (Buffalo, NY), Squire Sanders LLP (New York, NY), Thompson Hine LLP (Cleveland, OH), Underberg & Kessler LLP (Buffalo, NY), and Winstead PC (Fort Worth, TX).

Poloncarz continued, “Keeping the Bills here in Buffalo is not only important for our economy but also critical to the framework of our community.  Our next step will involve carefully reviewing the responses and interviewing the applicants in order to assemble the best team possible, not only to successfully negotiate a lease agreement but also to strike a fair deal for County taxpayers.”

A review committee consisting of the County Executive Mark Poloncarz, Deputy County Executive Richard Tobe, County Attorney Michael Siragusa and First Assistant County Attorney Michelle Parker will now review the bids and take further actions which could include requesting in-person presentations from bidders, scheduling additional committee meetings for more deliberations, or awarding the contract. In accordance with the RFP, and following all necessary approvals, the County must name the contract awardee with a signed engagement letter by February 24, 2012.

The current lease agreement was negotiated by Erie County in 1998 under County Executive Dennis Gorski and is set to expire as of July 30, 2013.