Joe Ellis: Potential Broncos sale wouldn’t happen until after trial pitting trustees vs. Pat Bowlen’s two oldest children

Broncos president/CEO Joe Ellis said Tuesday he and the other two Pat Bowlen Trustees, Rich Slivka and Mary Kelly, will wait until the completion of their trial against Beth Bowlen Wallace and Amie Klemmer before determining if the team will be put up for sale.

The trustees vs. Wallace/Klemmer trial is set to begin July 12 in Arapahoe County District Court. It was initially scheduled for September 2020.

“The trial has to take place or the claims have to go away before the team can be sold,” Ellis said. “We haven’t made that decision (whether to sell or not). We’re basically just focused on getting through this trial, validating the trial, which validates us to make a decision to keep it in the family and name a child or sell the team.

“We’re not putting the cart before the horse here. This case is in front of (Arapahoe County) Judge (John) Scipione and we’re ready to go to court — I wish we could have done it earlier, it would have been better for a lot of people. We’re ready to go to court in July and get it resolved and we’re confident we will prevail and the trust will stand up and we’ll be able to make a decision soon thereafter.”

If the trustees wanted to put the Broncos up for sale before the trial, all they would need is a court order from Scipione, which legal experts said he would likely grant.

Last month, Wallace, in a statement, called for a “smooth and timely transition,” to new ownership.

It is likely that if the trustees were to begin the sale process of the Broncos, Wallace/Klemmer would drop their claims and the trial would disappear.

The other issue is making sure the Broncos are compliant with an NFL rule established in November requiring each team to have a designated person as “controlling owner.”

Asked if commissioner Roger Goodell has discussed a deadline for closure, Ellis said: “He hasn’t really talked about it. I have, under his authority and the authority blessed by the Finance Committee, the ability to do this through March 2022 I think. We are in litigation and I think other owners that I have spoken to as well as Roger recognize that is slowing things down a little bit in terms of a decision-making process. I know the league will want us to reach resolution as soon as we can. But the trial is going to have to happen first and it will have to verify and validate Pat’s trust and our ability to execute it.”

This story will be updated.

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