Earlier, Spanos’ sister demanded that the business be sold to pay off family obligations.
Following the record-breaking $4.65 billion sale of the Denver Broncos to the Walton-Penner family, one of the Chargers’ AFC West rivals may be the next NFL team to be sold. This is mainly due to a long-running legal dispute that intensified this week when Dean Spanos’ sister filed a lawsuit against him, calling his business practices “misogynistic” and “financially ruinous,” and claiming that the Spanos family is forced to sell the Chargers in order to pay off its debts.
In order to gain exclusive control of the Spanos Family Trust, which accounts for more than one-third of the Chargers’ ownership, Dea Spanos Berberian filed the lawsuit on Thursday in San Joaquin County Superior Court, according to ESPN. (Deceased millionaire Alex Spanos bought the team in 1984; his four children, Dean and Dea among them, each own 15% of the team, with the family trust holding the remaining 36%.) In order to become the team’s primary owner, Berberian wants to hold a total of 51 percent of the organization.
In addition, she alleges in her lawsuit that Dean Spanos and his brother Michael, the team’s vice chairman, have been acting “out of their deeply held misogynistic attitudes and sense of entitlement as the men in the family,” and asks the court to suspend and remove them from their positions as co-trustees. The Spanos brothers “believe to their core that, regardless of what their parents intended and what their wills said, men are in power and women should shut up,” according to the woman’s lawsuit.
Berberian says that Dean’s decision to relocate the Chargers from San Diego to Los Angeles in 2017 has left the trust in debt to the tune of $358 million. She further claims Dean misappropriated $105 million from the trust to other debts, saying he manipulated the trust to borrow over $60 million “for the needless purchase” of a private plane “that has no reasonable economic basis.” Adam Streisand, the same attorney who helped Jeanie Buss seize ownership of the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA, represents her.
For what it’s worth, Dean Spanos has long maintained that he will never sell the Chargers. But Berberian has been pushing for more power inside the franchise since at least last year. She co-manages the family trust with her brother, who also serves as a trustee. She petitioned the Los Angeles Superior Court in March 2021, pleading for the sale of the franchise because of growing trust debts. Prior to this, Dean Spanos was sued by Dimitri and Lex Economou, who claimed that their father had secretly stolen money from the trust.