Woody Paige: Broncos fans should be wary of new ownership | Broncos

Broncos advocates should be very suspicious, skeptical and cynical about the franchise’s new ownership.

Many of the more than 50 majority and minority owners of professional teams in Denver sports history weren’t so admirable, honest, wealthy and intelligent. In fact, several were with artists in the “Music Man ” tradition of Harold Hill. Others were real crooks.

Denver franchise owners went to prison, Ottawa and New Jersey, court to sue each other, into bankruptcy, quickly and bonkers, berserk and bananas.

The brothers who owned the Denver Comets of the International Volleyball Association were raided by police immediately after a game and arrested on drug chargers.

Mickey Monus, one of the original owners of the Colorado Rockies baseball team, was convicted of 109 felony fraud counts and spent 10 years in prison. The office of Oren Benton, another Rockies ownership partner, was searched by federal custom officers. Later the IRS announced Benton owed $ 279 million in back taxes. He filed for bankruptcy with approximately $ 1.2 billion in debts and would be banned from the banking industry.

Peter Bynoe and Bertram Lee were once recognized as the first African American owners of a major professional franchise. In reality, the NBA connected satellite conglomerate Comsat (62.5%) with Bynoe and Lee (32.5%) to buy the Nuggets in 1989. Bynoe and Lee served as managing partners until Lee was removed from the ownership and evicted from his downtown Denver apartment in 1991. Bynoe sold his shares the following year.

Car dealer Doug Spedding bought the USFL’s Denver Gold from Ron Blanding, who owned fitness clubs, for $ 10 million. When the league folded, Spedding sued Blanding for $ 24 million. Edgar Kaiser and Pat Bowlen battled legally for years as the former Broncos’ owner sued his successor over rights to reacquire a minority share of the franchise.

Kaiser named his fellow Canadian and lawyer Hein Poulus, who had never seen an NFL game before Kaiser bought the Broncos, as GM. Kaiser, grandson of a legendary industrialist, later created a french-fry vending machine company that bankrupted.

One of the ABA’s organizing owners, Dick Ringsby, put his trucking company’s logo on the uniforms of the Rockets, who ultimately became the Nuggets. The team had the best young player in pro basketball in Spencer Haywood. Ringsby announced he signed the league’s Rookie / MVP of the year to a $ 1.9 contract. Haywood discovered he really would receive $ 400,000 over six years, so he bolted to the NBA.

Ivan Mullenix, owner of the minor-league Denver Spurs, was promised a team by the NHL for 1976-77, but he instead joined the fledging World Hockey Association in 1975. In the new Big Mac Arena, Mullenix had no liquor license or scoreboards for the opening game that drew 5,000. On Jan. 2, 1974, during a Spurs road trip, Mullenix moved the team to Ottawa and, two weeks later, folded the franchise.

A season later Jack Vickers bought the NHL Kansas City Scouts and moved them to Denver as the Colorado Rockies. But, after losing $ 7 million, Vickers sold the franchise to the second of four owners in six seasons. The last, Astros owner John McMullen, claimed he had no plans to remove the team from Denver, but he did, anyway, as the Rockies became the New Jersey Devils.

In 1999 Ascent Entertainment – the ownership company of the Nuggets, the Avalanche and the teams’ future home at The Can – announced the two franchises and the arena were being acquired by Bill and Nancy Walton Laurie, of Columbia, Mo., for $ 400 million . Ascent stockholders sued, claiming the price was undervalued. The Laurie couple backed out. Denver businessman Donald Sturm bid $ 461 million and apparently won, but his deal collapsed.

The Denver sports assets were sold at auction for $ 250 million to Stan Kroenke, who owned a farm next to the Lauries in Columbia. Kroenke’s wife is Nancy’s sister Ann. Both are Walmart heirs.

Ann Walton Kroenke now is the first woman owner of Denver franchises. Stan “turned over ” the Avs and the Nugs when the NFL finally forced the Rams owner to divest his financial interest in the teams.

Read between the two lines in the previous paragraph.

Their combined $ 20 billion worth is tied for 36th by Forbes, but they have been unwilling for three seasons to reach an accord with Comcast and Dish network to telecast Nuggets and Avalanche games.

Brittany Bowlen was groomed to become the second woman to be a controlling owner in Denver. But the Broncos will be sold, and Brittany, as one of the sellers in the Bowlen Trust, may not have any role with the team beyond this year.

FILE – Comedian and media mogul Byron Allen poses for photo Sept. 5, 2019, in Los Angeles. Allen says the NFL needs him to join the ownership group. Allen is preparing a bid to purchase the Denver Broncos and become the NFL’s first Black owner.

Commissioner Roger Goodell acknowledged the league prefers its first Black owner with the Broncos. Former comedian and current media mogul Byron Allen declared he will be a bidder for the potential $ 4 billion number, highest in sports history. However, the NFL reportedly demands $ 2.5 billion in cash from one owner, and Allen’s financial worth is estimated to be $ 450 million.

Several other individuals and alliances are considering auction offers, and Peyton Manning and John Elway would like to be involved with the winning bidder.

The next steward of the Broncos’ public trust must become another Pat Bowlen, the most successful and super owner ever.

This Dusty Old Cowtown certainly doesn’t deserve another Flim-Flam sports franchise owner.

Beware and be wary.


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