The National Football League’s Denver Broncos will remain under the control of the Pat Bowlen Trust, at least for the foreseeable future.
The late Pat Bowlen’s youngest daughter, 29-year-old Brittany, is now more likely than ever to eventually become the franchise’s principal owner.
That was the bottom line after Arapahoe County (Colorado) District Court Judge John Scipione on August 29 dismissed the lawsuit filed in October 2018 by Bill Bowlen, brother of the longtime Broncos owner, seeking to dissolve the trust and remove its power of attorney.
“We’re pleased the court has dismissed Bill Bowlen’s case in its entirety as we have requested from the beginning of the case,” Dan Reilly, the trust’s attorney, told The Denver Post.
Pat Bowlen died in June at the age of 75 due to complications from Alzheimer’s disease.
The three-person trust, headed by team president and chief operating officer Joe Ellis, has been in charge of the National Football League franchise since 2014. It was set up as Bowlen’s health deteriorated and he stepped away from the day-to-day operations of the franchise that he, two brothers, and a sister purchased in 1984. The trust was billed as an interim move, awaiting designation of a principal owner successor from among Bowlen’s family or the possible sale of the team.
But the trust instead has been a fulcrum of a Bowlen family feud for control of the Broncos, long one of the NFL’s most successful franchises both on and off the field.
Bill Bowlen has been aligned with another Bowlen daughter, Beth Bowlen Wallace, 48, who announced last year she was ready to take over as principal owner. The trust rejected that claim, saying in a statement that Wallace, the daughter of Bowlen’s first wife, Sally Parker, wasn’t “capable or qualified at this time”. When Bill Bowlen filed the lawsuit, the trust again belittled Wallace, who has a law degree, and her qualifications.
Bill Bowlen’s attorney, Giovanni Ruscitti, Thursday told the Athletic that they were reviewing the dismissal.
“To that end, we would like to point out that none of the substantive issues have been decided in any court,” Ruscitti said. “There are currently motions pending in other proceedings that will help resolve these issues.”
That was a reference to other proceedings that are under gag orders and sealed records.
Brittany Bowlen, now her father’s heir apparent, is the daughter of Pat’s second wife, Annabel Bowlen. She is a graduate of Notre Dame University, has a master’s degree from Stanford, and worked in the league office for two years. After finishing up a job at management consulting firm McKinsey & Co., she is expecting to move into a still-undefined Broncos’ front-office role later this year.