SBD/Issue 97/Franchises

Elway Testifies In Bowlen Lawsuit That Deal Was Never Close

Elway Discussed Bowlen’s 20%
Offer On The Stand

Though he spent less than an hour on the witness stand, John Elway Friday "dominated attention at the fifth day" of the trial involving an ownership dispute between Broncos Owner Pat Bowlen and former owner Edgar Kaiser, according to Kris Hudson of the DENVER POST. Kaiser contends that by offering to sell 20% of the team to Elway in '98 Bowlen "violated his contractual obligation to make any sale offers to him first." But Elway testified that the "offer from Bowlen did not get to formal negotiations between each side's lawyers." Elway declined the offer because he did "not see a place for himself as an executive with the team. By declining the offer, Elway also forfeited any right to first dibs on a sale of the Broncos by Bowlen." Kaiser's attorneys "questioned Elway on his perception of Bowlen's ownership of the team. Among Kaiser's allegations against Bowlen is a claim that Bowlen misrepresented himself to Kaiser as the sole buyer of the team in 1984. Instead, he distributed ownership among his family." Elway: "I thought Pat was the managing partner." Elway added that the involvement of Bowlen's family in the team ownership was "widely known among Broncos' personnel" (DENVER POST, 2/7).

DEALMAKER: In Boston, Ron Borges reported that Kaiser testified that he "would have taken the deal offered Elway" but was never approached. Since Elway did not accept the offer, Bowlen's attorneys argue "Kaiser did not have to be given a right of refusal because there was nothing to refuse. Bowlen's lawyers also claim Kaiser was aware that Bowlen intended to bring family members in as partners at the time of the original sale" (BOSTON GLOBE, 2/8).

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