Fans of literature know Camelot as the lavish, mythical capital from which the legendary King Arthur ruled.
Terry and Kim Pegula, owners of the Buffalo Bills, have their own Camelot, a lavish residence from which they’re watching Gov. Kathy Hochul fall on her sword to subsidize their new stadium.
Hochul’s agreement to hand the billionaires $850 million in public money to keep the team in Buffalo for the next 30 years has sparked an uproar in the state — even in Western New York, where hardscrabble homes have none of the opulence of the Pegulas’ Camelot Farms.
The 12-acre equestrian estate is tucked away among a 194-acre community of private horse farms northwest of the city center, according to Redfin. The 14,000-square-foot home has a 10-car, air-conditioned garage with space for two stretch limousines, and its 40,000-gallon heated outdoor pool boasts granite-like rocks, a waterfall and a spa.
The eight-bedroom, nine-bathroom house also has a stable with 35-foot ceilings, eight stalls and an upstairs grooms’ quarters. Publishable photos of the interior were not available.
News of the Pegulas living in Florida sparked outrage among New York state politicians, according to the Post. The Pegulas bought the property in 2010 for $6.5 million.
In New York and across the sports world, debate continues over the plan to give the Floridians the largest ever public subsidy for a sports stadium, despite economists agreeing that the venues are bad investments.
Hochul is trying to get the state legislature to agree to $600 million in state subsidies. Erie County taxpayers would kick in $250 million, so more than 60 percent of the $1.4 billion stadium would be covered by the public. It has been ages since taxpayers subsidized such a high percentage of a sports venue, but Hochul was worried the Bills would stampede to another city.
Meanwhile, the Pegulas will contribute just $350 million, or 6 percent of their reported $5.8 billion net worth, Crain’s reported. The median net worth of U.S. households is $121,670, so the Pegulas’ contribution is equivalent to a $7,305 investment from a regular Joe. The NFL will add $200 million.
When Pegula bought the Bills in 2017, he took advantage of a tax loophole that allowed him to deduct the purchase price from the team’s profit and his income for 15 years, according to the New York Post. As a result, he can write off $93 million a year until the team has paid for itself.
Hochul, a Buffalo native and diehard Bills fan, has argued the subsidies do not represent a majority of the funding for the project, the Post reported. But Hochul’s math has not quieted the critics, and the deal has complicated negotiations for a new state budget (which was due April 1) and her bid for election this year to a four-year term.