Byron Brown Discovers the Senecas' 10-K
by Bruce Jackson
If you want an indicator of the impact and significance of Tom Golisano’s Tuesday afternoon press conference in which he announced his strong opposition to a casino in downtown Buffalo, you need look no further than the press release issued that evening by the office of Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown. Brown has, for the past two years, done everything a human being in public life could do to keep from taking a position on the casino issue. He has adopted the posture of someone just going along with an engine put in place by his predecessor, Anthony Masiello. He has, so far as anyone knows, done no investigation of his own about whether a downtown casino would be good or bad for Buffalo. He’s just gone along and made no waves.
All that ended Tuesday afternoon when the 800-pound gorilla, Tom Golisano, the billionaire owner of the Buffalo Sabres, hence someone with a clear and legitimate interest in the financial and social health of the city, called a press conference in which he said that as far as he was concerned the Senecas’ downtown casino was a disaster: The Senecas might make a lot of money with it, but Buffalo and environs could only be crippled by it.
A few hours after Tom Golisano said that a Buffalo casino was absurd in all regards, Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said he had some questions about the utility of a Buffalo casino. The heretofore waffling Byron Brown issued a “Public Statement,” all of it in quotation marks. People, even politicians, do not usually put out their own comments in quotation marks. It is as if Brown sees himself as an actor uttering someone else’s lines, which may indeed be the case.
Here is Brown’s statement in its entirety, with the quotation marks preserved:
“My Administration had been under the impression that the proposed Buffalo Creek Casino would bring in significant tourist dollars to the City of Buffalo.
“This served as the primary economic justification for a casino in Buffalo—that more tourist dollars will come to and stay here than will leave the host community.
“The Form 10-K that was filed by the Seneca Erie Gaming Corporation on December 29, 2005 with the Securities and Exchange Commission states that ‘…the Seneca Buffalo Casino is expected to cater primarily to the local market in Buffalo and its suburbs.’
“This is a very troubling development and raises the strong possibility that the Buffalo Creek Casino will have negative impacts on our local economy.
“This development speaks strongly against the City providing any support for the infrastructure improvements requested by the Seneca Nation around the Buffalo Creek Casino site.”
Tom Golisano found the 10-K months ago. So did Artvoice and so did Citizens for Better Buffalo, the organization that mounted the anti-casino lawsuits in state and federal court. It is available to anyone who visits the Seneca Gaming Corporation website (http://www.senecagamingcorporation.com/secFilings.html).
It’s good that because of Tom Golisano’s public stand, Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown is now asking some of the questions he should have been asking before he went along with the casino project. Buffalonians should perhaps ask what he is going to do when he doesn’t have Tom Golisano’s research to tell him what he should have been looking at all along. And where has the city’s large legal and planning team been sleeping during all of this?
Issue Navigation> Issue Index > v5n15: Tom Golisano on the Buffalo Creek Casino (4/13/06) > Cover Story > Byron Brown Discovers the Senecas' 10-K
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