The Seneca Nation of Indians is spending tens of thousands of dollars on commercials to criticize New York Gov. Kathy Hochul for spending taxpayer money on Buffalo Bills new stadium, local media Spectrum News reported.
Handouts to the NFL
According to the advertisement information by outlets provided in the media report, the Seneca Nation spent over $55,000 on TV and radio ads, targeting Gov. Hochul for the way she has elected to spend the money the tribe paid recently to end a nearly five-year-long dispute. The state committed to supporting the $1.4 billion new stadium of the Buffalo Bills with $850 million of taxpayer money.
“The state of New York just received hundreds of millions of dollars from the Seneca Nation. The additional funding gave Gov. Hochul a great opportunity to help repair our roads, build hospitals, fix our bridges and support our schools. What did she do instead? She gave away hundreds of millions of dollars to build a football stadium for the NFL.”
The Seneca Nation has been arguing for years that the tribe was no longer required to pay nearly $565 million in back payments as part of a slot machine sharing revenue agreement within the compact with the state, but following the arbitrage panel decision and several court rulings in favor of the arbitrage, the tribe agreed to make the payments earlier this year.
Having missed the latest deadline for the payments, waiting for the final ruling on the legality of the compact from the US Department of the Interior, various corporate banking accounts for the tribe were frozen by the state to essentially force the payments.
This “overly heavy-handed action” seems to have triggered the Seneca Nation to vent publicly and criticize Gov. Hochul, focusing on the way she spent the money, rather than how she forced the tribe to pay.
Outlining the skyrocketing inflation and stretched budgets, the narrator in the commercial states that making “handouts for the NFL which makes billions of dollars in profit every year is the wrong way to use this money” and being a football fan does not justify such spending.
Conflict of Interest
The Seneca Nation’s ads also allege a conflict of interest for Gov. Hochul, claiming the “governor’s husband serves as a senior executive for a company that stands to make millions of dollars selling concessions in the new stadium.”
“This is just the latest chapter in the state of New York’s long history of misusing public funds. The NFL gets a new stadium. New Yorkers pay the price. Gov. Hochul, New York deserves better.”
As senior vice president and general counsel for Delaware North, the company selling concessionaries at the Buffalo Bill’s current Highmark Stadium, Bill Hochul stands to potentially benefit if Delaware North keeps the concession for the new stadium. And the Seneca Nation is not the first to raise this issue.
In March, the New York Post cited the executive director of the government watchdog group Reinvent Albany John Kaehny stating that Delaware North was “one of the biggest winners” of the stadium deal, questioning how Gov. Hochul avoided a conflict in approving the deal.
According to the office of Gov. Hochul, there is no conflict of interest as “Delaware North is not a party to the negotiations and any future decisions about vendors at the new stadium would be made by the Bills alone.”