Arapahoe County Court records indicate that Bill Bowlen’s lawsuit from last October to remove the three trustees operating the Pat D. Bowlen Trust has been thrown out in its entirety.
Mike Klis of 9News reported the news this afternoon, hinting that more news on ownership development would be coming soon.
BREAKING: 9news has learned that Bill Bowlen’s lawsuit attempting to remove trustees of Pat Bowlen Trust — Joe Ellis, Rick Slivka, Mary Kelly — has been dismissed in its entirety. More to come on major ownership development. #9news #9sports— Mike Klis (@MikeKlis) August 29, 2019
Bill Bowlen had filed the suit in October 2018 asking to remove the trustees, maintaining that they were not following the ownership succession wishes of his older brother and Hall-of-Fame owner of the Denver Broncos Pat Bowlen. He also challenged their role as power of attorney, a moot point after Pat Bowlen’s death in June.
Pat Bowlen handed over management of the Broncos in 2014 to the three trustees — which includes Broncos’ president and CEO Joe Ellis — after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
Bill Bowlen maintained the trustees were not following the desires of his brother when they began pushing for Brittany Bowlen, daughter of Pat Bowlen and second wife Anabel, to become controlling owner over Beth Bowlen Wallace, daughter of Pat and first wife Sally Parker.
Per source, Bill Bowlen expected the suit to be dismissed after Pat's death in June. At the heart of the lawsuit were his allegations that the trustees failed to act loyally and in Pat's best interest.— Nicki Jhabvala (@NickiJhabvala) August 29, 2019
Bowlen Wallace had indicated in May 2018 her interest to be considered for the controlling owner. Trustees stated then that Bowlen Wallace was not qualified and that Brittany Bowlen was the designated heir for controlling owner.
Then Ellis announced in July that Brittany Bowlen would be joining the Broncos in a front office job in the near future - possibly later this year or after the season was over.
The Trust has maintained that the next controlling owner needed to have an advanced degree as well as at least five years experience with the Broncos or NFL offices. Neither daughter has fulfilled that second requirement, though Bowlen Wallace began working for the Broncos as director of special projects in 2012 before they terminated the position abruptly in 2015.
Bowlen Wallace and her sister, Amie Klemmer, had filed a second suit this summer that is currently on hold, as Nicki Jhabvala of The Athletic reported:
Arbitration between the trustees and Pat Bowlen's oldest daughters, Amie Klemmer and Beth Bowlen Wallace, is on hold, according to a source.— Nicki Jhabvala (@NickiJhabvala) August 29, 2019
Now that Bill Bowlen’s lawsuit has been dismissed, the trustees have a clearer path to putting their chosen successor on the ownership track.
Bill Bowlen told Mile High Report that he knew this outcome could happen once Pat Bowlen died and the power of attorney claim was no longer an issue.
“My legal team will be looking at what, if anything, can be done,” Bill Bowlen texted MHR after the news broke. “There are still other actions before the court, so we are in a holding pattern.”
Bill Bowlen’s attorney, Giovanni Ruscitti, highlighted to The Athletic today as well that the lawsuit was thrown out on procedural grounds, not on substance regarding the trustees.
“To that end, we would like to point out that none of the substantive issues have been decided in any court,” he said in a statement. “There are currently motions pending in other proceedings that will help resolve those issues.”
Dan Reilly, attorney for the trustees handling the Patrick D. Bowlen Trust and also husband of trustee Mary J. Kelly, said the trustees were “very pleased” the judge dismissed Bill Bowlen’s suit.