On October 26, The Denver Post published an article about the petition Bill Bowlen had just filed in Arapahoe County District Court asking the court to review the actions of three agents appointed to act on his brother Pat Bowlen’s behalf pursuant to a power of attorney. As is well known in Colorado, Pat Bowlen, the owner of the Broncos, suffers from severe Alzheimer’s disease.
The Post attached a copy of the court petition to the online article.
Petition to review a power of attorney
Bill Bowlen filed his petition under the Colorado Uniform Power of Attorney Act, which provides that certain persons may ask the court to “construe a power of attorney or review the agent’s conduct and grant appropriate relief.” The petitioner bases his petition on his role as a person demonstrating “sufficient interest in the principal’s welfare.”
He also requests that if the defendants use Pat Bowlen’s assets to respond to the petition that the court order them to reimburse Pat for legal fees and costs.
This dispute is quite complicated. Pat Bowlen reportedly set up a complex array of trusts and businesses with intermingled ownership interests as well as a 2009 power of attorney naming three agents: Joe Ellis (Bronco CEO and president), Mary Kelly (Bronco employee and former family lawyer) and Rich Slivka (Bronco executive and general counsel).
According to the petition, these three agents also act as trustees under trusts created by Pat Bowlen, including the PBD Trust set up in 2009, which owns and manages significant assets of Pat Bowlen.
A brother’s concerns
Bill Bowlen describes several concerns that led to his petition:
- He alleges that the three agents have not acted in the best interests of Pat Bowlen, his family and the team. Specifically, Bill believes they are not carrying out Pat’s succession plan that Pat’s children be groomed for assuming ownership and control of the team.
- He believes that the agents have violated their fiduciary duties of acting in good faith and with loyalty, and have conflicts with Pat’s interests in the team’s management, control and ownership.
- Bill alleges that there is no structural accountability to contain and check the agents’ control of the involved businesses and trusts.
- The petitioner questions whether his brother had the mental capacity to take the actions he did in 2009 in drafting trust documents that resulted in the three agents/trustees wielding such broad powers.
The language of the statute pursuant to which Bill filed the petition is broad: to review the power of attorney, the agents’ actions and grant “appropriate relief.” The petitioner asks the court to find that the three agents have breached their fiduciary duties to Pat; to remove the three agents; and to appoint an independent conservator to manage his brother’s assets and who would have power to remove the three as trustees of Pat’s trust; and more.