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Chargers owner, Dean Spanos, sued by sister, accused of mismanagement

A lawsuit filed by the sister escalates the battle between the four Spanos siblings over control of the NFL franchise.

LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles Chargers controlling owner Dean Spanos has been accused of repeated breaches of fiduciary duty and misogynistic behavior in a lawsuit filed by his sister.

The filing escalates the ongoing battle among the four Spanos siblings over control of the franchise.

Dea Spanos Berberian filed a petition Thursday in San Joaquin County Superior Court seeking sole control of the family trust that has a 36% stake in the ownership of the Chargers. The lawsuit also asks the court to suspend and remove Dean Spanos as a co-trustee in the trust and for the disqualification of Michael Spanos as successor co-trustee.

A lawyer representing Dean and Michael Spanos was reviewing the filing before commenting on their behalf.

CBS 8 spoke to San Diego lawyer Dan Weiner who says Berberian may have a strong lead. 

Weiner told CBS 8, "Just based on the face of what she’s alleging, in the petition she does seem to have a pretty strong argument if she can prove with everything listed I can’t see a judge keeping him on as a trustee."

Weiner said, "Her level of anger and resentment is pretty severe it may be she will not back down until she’s managed to force her brother out."

Spanos and Berberian were left as co-trustees of the trust following the deaths of Alex and Faye Spanos in 2018.

Of the remaining 64% of the Chargers ownership stake, Spanos, Berberian, Alexandra Spanos Ruhl and Michael Spanos each own 15%. The remaining 4% is owned by non-family members.

Alex Spanos bought the San Diego Chargers in 1984 and Dean Spanos took over managing the franchise in 1994.

In the filing, Berberian accuses Michael and Dean Spanos of repeatedly acting "out of their deeply-held misogynistic attitudes and sense of entitlement as the men in the family." It states that Dean and Michael "believe to their cores that, regardless of what their parents intended and their wills specified, men are in charge and women should shut up."

According to the trust's financial statements, debts totaled over $358 million as of Dec. 31, with debt service and expenses of at least $11 million per year. The trust's stake in the Chargers makes up 83% of its holdings.

Forbes valued the Chargers at $2.6 billion in its recent franchise rankings. The trust's share could be worth nearly $988 million.

Berberian has also accused Dean and Michael Spanos of borrowing over $60 million from the trust to buy an airplane and "deliberately" damaging her relationship with the pastor of her Greek Orthodox church.

Berberian filed a petition last March in Los Angeles County Superior Court seeking to have the court put the trust and team's ownership stake up for sale. Berberian agreed earlier this week to have the matter heard before the NFL in arbitration.

The NFL declined to comment on the matter.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

WATCH RELATED: NFL sued over Chargers' relocation from San Diego (Jan. 2022).


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