To see the full interview with Beth Bowlen Wallace, watch the video above.
Beth Bowlen Wallace said she “is absolutely capable and qualified” to lead the Broncos, in an interview with 9NEWS.
Bowlen Wallace talked to 9NEWS Monday, a move that comes after court documents filed in recent months lay bare the intra-family dispute over the long-term future of the Broncos’ ownership, with two of Pat Bowlen’s daughters competing for the position.
Pat Bowlen stepped away from an active role the team’s management in July 2014, acknowledging that he was battling Alzheimer’s disease. The Broncos were placed in a trust controlled by three people – Joe Ellis, the president and CEO of the team; Richard Slivka, the team’s executive vice president and general counsel; and Mary Kelly, an attorney. All three were longtime advisers to the Broncos owner.
Pat Bowlen’s wish was that the trustees would identify one of his seven children to succeed him as the team’s controlling owner.
Last spring, Beth Bowlen Wallace announced her intent to run the Broncos. She is one of two children from Pat Bowlen’s first marriage and has the support of the other, Amie Bowlen Klemmer.
However, the trustees issued a statement saying she “is not capable or qualified at this time” to lead the team.
“I’ve been in the professional workforce for over 25 years of my life,” Beth Bowlen Wallace told 9NEWS.
Bowlen Wallace had been working for the team in special projects when her dad decided to step away. In the next year, the trust announced the criteria needed to run the team. That’s when Bowlen Wallace decided to enroll in law school.
“So when the criteria came out and that was on the criteria I did report that, and was called in less than 24 hours later and told that my position was going to be eliminated from the team,” Bowlen Wallace said.
At the time, she was told there was no value to her position with the team, but now that she has her law degree, Bowlen Wallace believes she’s ready to assume the position.
Last month, Brittany Bowlen expressed her desire to one day take over as CEO, and the trustees appear to be grooming her for the role. Brittany is one of five children from Pat Bowlen’s second marriage to his wife, Annabel.
Both Bowlen Wallace and Brittany Bowlen have said there is no ongoing conflict among the Bowlen children.
“My dad wanted each one of us to have an opportunity and I am proud of Brittany’s accomplishments and I understand what her goals are,” Bowlen Wallace said. “My dad would be very proud of the accomplishments of all his kids. This is not a family conflict. And this should not be about family drama. This is about preserving my father’s wishes and his legacy. That’s what this is about for me.”
In October, Pat Bowlen’s younger brother, Bill Bowlen, filed a motion in Arapahoe County District Court seeking the removal of the three trustees overseeing the operation of the team –Ellis, Slivka and Kelly.
Among Bill Bowlen’s assertions is that the trustees “are refusing the implement a long-term succession plan that meets Patrick D. Bowlen’s stated goals of keeping the Denver Broncos Football Club in his family and under the management and control of his children, knowing that implementation of that plan essentially means the defendants will be working themselves out of a position with the Denver Broncos Football Club.”
Ellis, Slivka and Kelly, Bill Bowlen charged, “are causing dysfunction within the Denver Broncos Football Club and the Bowlen family.”
Bill Bowlen no longer has an ownership stake in the Broncos, but earlier this year he came out in favor of Beth Bowlen Wallace taking control of the team.
In November, attorneys for Ellis, Slivka and Kelly responded with a request that the National Football League settle the dispute.
That filing also reiterated the position of the trustees: “Simply stated, in the trustees’ judgment, Ms. Wallace lacks the business experience and acumen, knowledge, leadership skills, integrity and character necessary to be the sole individual running an NFL franchise valued at $2.5 billion.”