ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (CBS4) — The future of the ownership of the Denver Broncos is headed back to court. Two daughters of the late Pat Bowlen, Beth Bowlen Wallace and Amie Bowlen Klemmer, have filed a petition claiming the trust now running the team is invalid.
There was a plan in place for control of the Broncos in the event the owners should become incapacitated.
Pat Bowlen passed away following a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease earlier this year. But it was back in 2014 it was announced with tears he would no longer be able to be involved in operations of the team.
General Manager John Elway said then, “Having worked for him for 30 years it’s going to be very heard to not see him walk through the front door every day.”
The plan involved a trust of three people to control the team. Richard Slivka the vice president, Mary Kelly an attorney and the team’s president and CEO Joe Ellis who said, “We were out here for him but he has left us with a blue print that is easy to follow and we have to do right by that and we will.”
The family appeared together following Pat Bowlen’s death. Now daughters Beth Bowlen Wallace and Amie Klemmer have asked a court to determine if their father was mentally able to create the trust when he did.
“There is substantial and overwhelming evidence that Mr. Bowlen lacked the required capacity in 2009,” the daughters’ attorney Giovanni Ruscetti gave the media in a statement.
But Dan Reilly, a lawyer for the trustees, responded: “It is sad and unfortunate that Beth Bowlen Wallace and Amie Bowlen Klemmer have elected to contest their father’s plan and attack his personal health.”
Another lawsuit challenging the trust by son Bill Bowlen was dismissed by a judge. In response to Bill Bowlen’s lawsuit, which they saw as an attempt by Wallace and Klemmer to challenge the trust, trustees asked the NFL to arbitrate the matter, and Commissioner Roger Goodell agreed, appointing ex-49ers executive Carmen Policy as arbitrator.
The NFL’s arbitration, minus the question of Pat Bowlen’s mental capacity, can proceed, but the arbitration would be rendered moot if the trust were declared invalid in court. A delay is likely until the latest lawsuit winds its way through the legal process.
On Aug. 30, the court sided with the trustees in denying Wallace and Klemmer’s request for an advisory opinion and a “probable cause determination” on their ability to challenge the no-contest clause in the trust without risking their inheritance.
By choosing to challenge the validity of the trust in court, Wallace and Klemmer are putting themselves at risk of being disinherited if they’re found in violation of the no-contest clause and the 2009 trust is upheld in court. Their rights as beneficiaries would bypass them and go to their children.
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)