DENVER -- A federal jury on Friday issued a split decision
in a lawsuit claiming Denver Broncos owner Pat Bowlen lied to the
team's former owner about distributing ownership among the Bowlen
Edgar Kaiser also asserted Bowlen cheated him of a chance to buy
back part ownership in the team.
The jury agreed with Kaiser's claim that Bowlen violated the
terms of the contract by not giving him first chance at buying back
any share of the team.
But jurors rejected the assertion Bowlen violated a contract
stipulation requiring him to be the sole owner.
A new trial will be held to determine what Bowlen owes Kaiser.
That could include monetary damages or a chance to buy a share of
U.S. District Judge Richard Matsch didn't set a trial date.
"Obviously, we would have liked to have prevailed on all
counts, but it is what it is," Kaiser said.
Bowlen was in court for the verdict, but didn't speak afterward.
"The jury found that despite their claims, Pat Bowlen had told
the truth. He honored his agreement. He paid every penny he owed to
Mr. Kaiser," said Daniel Reilly, Bowlen's lawyer.
Reilly argued during the 2½-week trial that Kaiser knew all
along Bowlen's family would be involved, and that Kaiser was trying
to buy back a share of the team at 1984 prices.
Kaiser's attorney, Stephen Long, showed the jury numerous
documents he said indicated the Bowlen family was trying to hide
Pat Bowlen's acting as an agent for companies owned by the family,
rather than as a sole purchaser, as Bowlen promised.
Kaiser also said Bowlen gave former Broncos quarterback John
Elway a chance to buy a stake in the team despite a provision in
the sales agreement giving Kaiser first shot at any such offer.
Long said Kaiser will try to gain 20 percent ownership of the
team because that was the offer made to Elway.
Bowlen's lawyers said after the verdict only a cash payment will
In a written statement, the Broncos said the jury's decision,
"combined with Kaiser's decision to abandon fraud claims
previously put before the court, as well as a prior court order,
eliminates any chance of Edgar Kaiser owning or receiving any
portion of ownership of the Denver Broncos."
Elway testified during the trial that it was common knowledge within
the organization that members of Bowlen's family had some ownership
Elway also testified that Bowlen offered him a deal to buy up to
a 20 percent stake in the team and work for Bowlen, eventually
becoming chief operations officer. Elway said he turned down the
offer because he didn't want to be a minority shareholder.
Reilly argued his client offered Elway part of a stake in the
team that Bowlen's family bought from minority shareholders in
1985. That meant the contract provision guaranteeing Kaiser first
crack at any offer to buy a portion of the team did not apply,