Bowlen trust rejects daughter’s ownership aspirations

Pat Bowlen, center, stepped down as owner of the Denver Broncos in 2014.Photo Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports (File photo)

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A tug-of-war for control of the Denver Broncos is unfolding after the second-oldest daughter of longtime owner Pat Bowlen expressed her desire to take over the reins of the franchise.

Beth Bowlen Wallace released a statement Thursday that she wanted to be appointed to succeed her father, but the Pat Bowlen Trust quickly responded with a statement of its own, saying she is not qualified to take over the team

“Pat did not designate Beth as a trustee or appoint her to a leadership position, nor did he instruct the trustees to specifically mentor her,” the Trust said in a statement. “He made it clear that his children were not automatically entitled to a role with the team and that they would have to earn that opportunity through their accomplishments, qualifications and character.

“As trustees honoring the clear wishes of Pat, we have thoroughly evaluated whether Beth is capable of succeeding her father as controlling owner. We have determined that she is not capable or qualified at this time.”

Pat Bowlen, who is battling Alzheimer’s disease, left his role as controlling owner of the Broncos in July 2014. He placed the team’s ownership in the hands of three trustees — president/CEO Joe Ellis, team counsel Rich Slivka and attorney Mary Kelly.

Bowlen Wallace expressed her desire to lead the team, saying in her statement that working in team management “is something I have prepared for and dreamed of doing.”

In an interview with the Athletic, Bowlen Wallace said “completed the criteria laid out by the trustees” — a point refuted by the Bowlen Trust.

“The statements issued by Beth Bowlen Wallace today are contrary to Pat Bowlen’s long-standing succession plan that he created over many years of careful consideration,” said the Trust statement, adding that it will “vigorously defend Pat’s plan in responding to these and any statements that are contrary to Pat’s words and intentions.”