What now for the Broncos following owner Pat Bowlen’s death?
Will the Broncos stay in the family with one of his seven children serving as the controlling owner? Will the trustees, led by president/CEO Joe Ellis, continue to run the day-to-day operations until Brittany Bowlen in particular is deemed ready to take over? Will NFL commissioner Roger Goodell step in and suggest/demand a Bowlen child replace the trustees?
Ryan O’Halloran of the Denver Post reports that according to a source, Bowlen’s seven children, who range in age from 22-49 and were all present when their father passed away at his Denver area home late Thursday, have had productive conversations about how to proceed. Bowlen had two daughters (Amie and Beth) with his first wife, Sally Parker and five children (Patrick, Johnny, Brittany, Annabel and Christianna) with his widow, Annabel.
It is believed Bowlen’s children will get an equal share of the team, which was valued last fall by Forbes at $2.6 billion.
Because Bowlen has passed away, the children for the first time will be able to see the Pat Bowlen Trust and its documents.
The big issue for the children regarding the trust will be when Pat’s wife, Annabel, passes away. She announced her Alzheimer’s diagnosis in June 2018. Upon her death, the children will be saddled with the “death tax,” which is 40 percent of the value of the shares they inherit. It is unknown how the children would pay the tax. They would have one calendar year to make the payment; if they ask for an extension, the bill would include interest.
Also not known: How Bowlen’s death will impact his brother Bill’s lawsuit against the trustees, filed last October, demanding they be removed from their responsibilities as well as the arbitration process at the NFL level led by Carmen Policy. It is possible those two situations could continue on parallel paths.
Beth Bowlen Wallace and Brittany Bowlen, have expressed interest in becoming the team’s next controlling owner and it is believed that the trustees who currently run the Broncos (Ellis, Rich Slivka and Mary Kelly) have prioritized a transition to Brittany.