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Lawsuit over Broncos ownership, Bowlen trust dismissed by judge

Bowlen Lawsuit Football
Posted at 5:40 PM, Jul 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-14 23:14:45-04

DENVER – An Arapahoe County judge on Wednesday dismissed the lawsuit filed by Beth Bowlen Wallace and her sister in a case that could have determined who will be the next owner of the Denver Broncos.

The dismissal was anticipated after a July 12 court date was vacated late last month when Beth Bowlen Wallace and Amie Bowlen Klemmer filed a motion to dismiss the case, which respondents Joe Ellis, Rich Slivka and Mary Kelly did not oppose.

Bowlen Wallace and Klemmer had filed the suit against the three arguing that the late Pat Bowlen was not aware of what was contained in the documents he was signing that made amendments to the trust, established in 2009, that determined who would succeed him should he die or become incapacitated.

Bowlen stepped down from ownership in 2014 because of Alzheimer’s and died in 2019. Bowlen Wallace, Klemmer, and their uncle tried to remove the trustees, who argued that Bowlen was indeed aware of what he was signing.

Bowlen Wallace issued a statement to Denver7 in December, suggesting the best path forward was to sell the team since her father would not have approved of the state of the franchise, which made it seem the Bowlen children would be unable to agree on a sibling to run the team.

Ellis, the team’s president and CEO, has previously said that a sale was possible if there is not agreement among the siblings. Bowlen Wallace said in 2018 she would like to be the controlling owner, and Brittany Bowlen has also shown a clear desire to secure the role.

Denver7 Broncos Insider Troy Renck reported in late June, after the motion to dismiss was filed, that the two sides could be exploring a settlement.

Wednesday’s order from District Court Judge John E. Scipione found that the 2009 estate planning documents and the amendments made “are valid, enforceable, and reflect Patrick D. Bowlen’s intent and will.” The order says that Bowlen Wallace and Klemmer will no longer fight that they were the “result of undue influence.”

The judge also found that Ellis, Slivka and Kelly “have the full and complete authority to administer the PDB Trust in accordance with the terms and provisions of the PDB Trust, as amended.”

And he found that Slivka and Kelly should be appointed as co-personal representatives under Bowlen’s will and “can and should administer Mr. Bowlen’s estate in accordance with the terms of his Will.”

According to Broncos Insider Troy Renck, Brittany Bowlen is still considered the favorite of the trust to be controlling owner as she works for the team and has been a key part of navigating the pandemic and the return of fans to Empower Field at Mile High. She was promoted this spring to Senior Vice President of Strategy and reports directly to Ellis while leading senior staff meetings.

This is a developing news story and will be updated.