Bowlen tried to 'screen' family's involvement

Updated: February 10, 2004, 10:02 AM ET
Associated Press

DENVER -- The family of Denver Broncos owner Pat Bowlen discussed ways to "screen" their potential involvement in the team from former owner Edgar Kaiser, according to documents introduced in a trial over the 1984 sale of the team.

Kaiser's federal lawsuit accuses Bowlen of distributing ownership interests in the Broncos to family members in violation of the sale agreement.

On Monday, Kaiser's attorneys produced minutes from the Bowlen family trust and a draft "ownership and operation agreement" the family considered and revised.

Bowlen's attorneys said the family agreement was never signed. The document acknowledged the family would need to "screen" from Kaiser its ability to finance Bowlen's purchase of the team for $65 million.

Bowlen took the stand for the first time Monday, the sixth day of the trial. He said the family trust never actually bought a share of the team.

"It was one of many options," Bowlen said.

Bowlen's brother, John Bowlen, also testified Monday, denying that the family intended to defraud Kaiser or that Pat Bowlen promised partial ownership to his family before the purchase.

Kaiser's lawsuit also said Bowlen gave quarterback John Elway a chance to buy a stake in the team, despite a provision that gave Kaiser the first shot at any such offer.

Elway testified Friday that he decided against taking Bowlen's offer.

Bowlen's attorneys have disputed Kaiser's claim to a right of first refusal and said the question was moot because Elway declined the offer.

If Kaiser wins, a second trial will be held to determine what Bowlen owes him, which could include monetary damages or a chance to buy a share of the team.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press