Broncos Ownership Lawsuit Likely Headed To Trial Next Fall
The Broncos’ ownership dispute likely will not be settled until at least the early weeks of the ‘20 NFL season. The arbitration between late Owner Pat Bowlen’s two oldest children, Beth Bowlen Wallace and Amie Klemmer, and the trust that currently runs the team, has been put on hold, said Broncos President & CEO Joe Ellis, who also is one of three trustees. Both sides agreed to delay the arbitration while a related lawsuit plays out in Arapahoe County Court, knowing that case could render the arbitration moot. In the civil lawsuit, Bowlen Wallace and Klemmer have challenged the validity of the entire '09 Pat Bowlen Trust, saying their father already was too affected by Alzheimer’s Disease to sign the documents. The arbitration only addresses the specific issue of whether the trust is following proper procedures to appoint a successor to Pat Bowlen as controlling owner of the team. On Dec. 2, the Broncos hired Brittany Bowlen, Pat Bowlen’s youngest daughter, as VP/Strategic Initiatives. While the trust has not formally named her its preferred heir, the job is designed to prepare her for that role. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said, "We never like to see litigation, but that’s the reality of the world we live in. But we don’t it want it to interfere with the team. We don't want it to interfere with the franchise in any way. To date we have not seen that. Our hope is they will resolve those matters swiftly" (Ben Fischer, THE DAILY).
GATHERING INTEL: THE ATHLETIC's Nicki Jhabvala noted between now and next fall will be "months of discovery, as both sides exchange information about witnesses and evidence each plans to use at trial." Depositions could be "relied upon heavily to determine the mental state of Bowlen nearly a decade ago, and what was once a very private matter could become even more public" (THEATHLETIC.com, 12/10).