Los Angeles Chargers owner Dean Spanos is being sued by his sister, Dea Spanos Berberian, for "misogynistic" behavior, "self-dealing," and repeated "breaches of fiduciary duty" in a lawsuit that elevates the continuing legal tussle over the franchise's management.
The lawsuit was filed by lawyers representing Berberian, who is looking to acquire sole control of a family trust that makes up greater than one-third of the team's ownership.
The suit also asks the court to suspend and supplant Spanos as a co-trustee and looks for unstated fiscal damages awarded to Berberian. The lawsuit states:
"[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."
Also, according to the lawsuit, Berberian accuses her brothers Dean and Michael Spanos of:
“Repeatedly acting out of their deeply-held misogynistic attitudes and sense of entitlement as the men in the family... and to rationalize their pitiable behavior which she believes is intended to teach her that a woman has no rights, no matter what any trust instrument might say."
Berberian, Dean, Michael, and their sister Alexandra Spanos Ruhl each hold a 15 percent share of the Chargers franchise, with 36 percent managed by the family trust and the remaining four percent owned by those not within the family.
In 2018, Spanos and Berberian were left as co-trustees of the trust after the passing of their parents, Alex and Faye Spanos.
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Spanos family and the Chargers franchise
In 1984, Alex Spanos purchased the then-San Diego Chargers, and Dean Spanos took over running the franchise in 1994. In April last year, legal strife came into the public's view when Berberian made a plea to the Los Angeles County Superior Court to put the trust up for sale.
Berberian claims that the Spanos family trust and sub-trusts are all but bankrupt, that Spanos' choice to move the Chargers to Los Angeles in 2017 has proved fiscally catastrophic, and that the family has no other alternative but to sell the team to fulfill the trust's debt, which she asserts is presently more than $358 million.
The lawsuit also notes several assertions of "breaches of fiduciary duty" by Dean Spanos, who is accused of rerouting $105 million from the trust to different debts. Spanos also supposedly exploited the trust to get over $60 million for:
“The wasteful purchase of an airplane for Dean's and Michael's use that has no legitimate business justification."
We'll see how this lawsuit carries out between the Spanos siblings.