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Chargers owner, siblings defend team's ownership in face of sister's challenge

According to the Los Angeles Times, the fourth sibling, Dea Spanos Berberian, filed papers in Los Angeles Superior Court Thursday.
Credit: KFMB

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — Chargers owner Dean Spanos and two of his siblings said Thursday they are prepared to buy out their sister's stake in the team following her filing of court papers looking to compel a sale of the franchise.

"Our parents, Alex and Faye, wanted the Chargers to be part of the Spanos family for generations to come," according to a joint statement from Dean Spanos, Michael Spanos and Alexis Spanos Ruhl. "For the three of us the Chargers is one of our family's most important legacies, just as it was for our parents.

"Unfortunately, our sister Dea seems to have a different and misguided personal agenda. If Dea no longer wishes to be part of this family legacy, the three of us stand ready to purchase her share of the franchise, as our agreements give us the right to do.

"In the meanwhile, the operations of the Chargers will be entirely unaffected by this matter, which relates only to the 36 percent share of the team that was owned by our parents. The three of us are entitled to three- fourths of that 36 percent share in any event, and under no circumstances will this situation impact control of the franchise. The three of us will remain firmly united as we seek to fulfill our parents' wishes to make every decision in the best interests of the Los Angeles Chargers."

According to the Los Angeles Times, the fourth sibling, Dea Spanos Berberian, filed papers in Los Angeles Superior Court Thursday contending that the family's trust -- which controls 36% of the team -- is riddled with so much debt that a sale of the NFL franchise is the only way to resolve the financial morass.

Berberian contends the trust has debts and expenses exceeding $353 million and has no plan for how it will pay $22 million it has pledged to charities, The Times reported. The court filing contends "the Spanos family legacy" is in danger of suffering "irreparable financial and reputational damage."

"Dean refuses to consider a sale of the Trust's Interest of the Chargers, insisting that the Co-Trustees continue to borrow more and more, and to force the charities and beneficiaries to wait for years and to `hope' while Dean speculates further on a football team," the petition states, according to The Times. "Dean has failed to present any plan to address the Trust's bleak financial picture, because there is no other plan than the one urged by (Berberian). Dean simply refuses to discuss it. ... His plan is hope."

Alex Spanos, a real estate developer, purchased a majority stake in the Chargers in 1984, and the family has controlled the team ever since.

According to the Times, while the family trust now controls 36% of the team, each of the four Spanos siblings owns a 15% share, with the remaining 4% controlled by various other investors. Dean Spanos and Berberian are co- trustees of the family trust. Dean Spanos controls the team's day-to-day management.