Two oldest Bowlen daughters are challenging the validity of the Bowlen Trust
A recent story online outlines the latest developments in the Bowlen family dispute. Patrick Dennis Bowlen was born on February 18, 1944 and died on June 13, 2019. He was the billionaire owner of the National Football League’s Denver Broncos. Mr. Bowlen purchased the team in 1984 and served as its CEO until July of 2014 when he had to step down due to the progression of his Alzheimer’s disease. According to the article, the Denver Broncos team is valued at more than $2.5 billion.
Mr. Bowlen had seven children. He had two daughters named Beth Wallace and Amie Klemmer with his first wife, Sally Parker. He also had five children with his widow, Annabel, named Patrick, Johnny, Brittany, Annabel, and Christianna.
According to the article, Mr. Bowlen created the The Bowlen Trust in March of 2009. It was put in place as Mr. Bowlen hoped one of his children would succeed him in running the Denver Broncos after his death. The trust is in charge of selecting the next controlling owner of the team. In early 2018, Beth declared that she wanted to succeed Mr. Bowlen. The trustees of the Bowlen Trust apparently declared her “not capable or qualified.” As a result, Beth and Amie recently commenced a lawsuit in Arapaho County Court challenging the validity of the Bowlen Trust.
Pat Bowlen’s mental capacity to create the Bowlen Trust is being challenged
According to the story, Beth and Amie allege that their father lacked mental capacity at the time the trust was created. Furthermore, Beth and Amie also allege that their father was unduly influenced. Dan Reilly, a lawyer representing the trust, has said in a statement that the lawsuit was the “latest effort in their public campaign to circumvent Pat Bowlen’s wishes.” He also stated that Beth and Amie never raised the issue of capacity until after 2014 when Beth was told privately by the trustees that she was not capable or qualified to be the controlling owner.
A further complication in this matter is that the trust contains a no-contest clause. Beth and Amie are therefore risking being disinherited by challenging the validity of the trust. If the trust is upheld in Court, they would lose their rights as beneficiaries. According to the article, their inheritance would go to their children. Finally, Mr. Bowlen’s daughter Brittany has announced her intention to become the next controlling owner of the team. She is 29 years old and is set to join the team in November in a management position to facilitate the process.
Beth and Amie may be taking a big risk by challenging the validity of their father’s trust. The burden of selecting a controlling owner was placed on the trustees. A better approach may have been for Mr. Bowlen to identify which of his children he wanted to control the team. Although the proceeding is in its early stages, the parties appear to be ready for a lengthy and intense legal battle. This will be a very interesting story to follow.
More on this story here.