The sister of Los Angeles Chargers chairman and controlling owner Dean Spanos is petitioning a California court to put one-third of the team's ownership stake for sale, according to the Associated Press. On Thursday, Dea Spanos Berberian filed a petition in Los Angeles County Superior Court, stating the team's mounting debt is creating a yearly loss of $11 million for the family trust. The petition reveals the trust had debt and expenses of $353 million as of Sept. 30. Nearly half of that is due to the investment of the Chargers.
"The Trust's Interest in the Chargers must be sold so that debts can be discharged, the hemorrhaging can stop, the speculation and risk can be eliminated, and the beneficiaries can actually enjoy the benefit of their inheritance as the settlors intended," the petition states. Mark Fabiani, special counsel to the Chargers, told USA Today that the trust "has access to significant liquidity as well as assets far in excess of its debts." The settlers the trust of are the Spanos' deceased parents, Faye and Alex, who bought the Chargers in 1984 when the franchise was in San Diego. Dean Spanos, Berberian, Alexandra Spanos Ruhl and Michael Spanos each own 15% of the franchise, with 36% managed by the family trust. Non-family members own the other 4%.
"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," the siblings said in a statement. "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."
Dean Spanos began managing the franchise in 1994. In 2017, the Chargers relocated to Los Angeles after spending 56 years in San Diego. The team plays at the new SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California, and shares the Los Angeles Rams stadium. The team began playing in the new stadium last year, but fans weren't allowed to attend due to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Forbes, the Chargers are valued at 2.6 billion. It's expected to increase after the NFL agreed to new media rights that will bring in more than $10 billion per year starting in 2023.