Sister of Chargers' Owner Asks Court to Force Sale of Franchise After Rise in Family Debt

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Chargers co-owner Dea Spanos Berberian is headed to court in an attempt to force the team to be sold, according to the Los Angeles Times

Berberian, the sister of the Chargers' owner, filed a petition to the Los Angeles County Superior Court on Thursday saying that a large amount of debt has put the family's finances at risk. According to Berberian, the only solution to fix the problem is to put the franchise on the market. 

While Dean Spanos is considered by many as the Chargers' main owner, he only owns 15 percent of the team. Berberian owns 15 percent, two other siblings own 15 percent and 36 percent is owned by the Spanos family trust. 

Berberian, in her petition, argues that the trust's debts and expenses are more than $353 million. In addition, the trust does not include a plan to pay more than $22 million that it has pledged to charities according to the LA Times

“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,” according to the court filing from the LA 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.”

Following the court filing, Dean Spanos and two of his siblings released a statement to keep the team in the family. The three said they were prepared to buy Berberian's stake in the franchise, if necessary. 

When the Chargers moved to LA in 2017 after 56 seasons in San Diego, they faced the difficult task of paying off a $650-million relocation fee to the NFL and then starting a fanbase in a crowded college and professional sports market. 

The Spanos family has owned the franchise since 1984. Before the family dispute was taken to court, matters were being handled in private. The court filing also suggests that Charges could be attractive to a new owner right now. 

After the NFL announced new 10-year TV deals, it was stated that Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos was interested in becoming an NFL owner and that the Chargers could be the perfect opportunity.