Los Angeles Chargers owner Dean Spanos has been accused of ‘misogynistic’, ‘insider’ behavior and ‘repeated breaches of fiduciary duty’ by his sister in a lawsuit that escalates the companies’ ongoing legal battle. siblings for team control.
The lawsuit was filed Thursday in San Joaquin County Superior Court by attorneys representing Dea Spanos Berberian, who is seeking sole control of a family trust that constitutes more than one-third of the Chargers’ ownership. The lawsuit also asks the court to suspend and remove Spanos as co-trustee and seeks unspecified damages awarded to Berberian.
Spanos, Berberian and their siblings Michael Spanos and Alexandra Spanos Ruhl each own 15% of the Chargers franchise, with 36% managed by the family trust and the remaining 4% owned by non-family members.
Spanos and Berberian remained co-trustees of the trust following the deaths of Alex and Faye Spanos in 2018.
Berberian accuses brothers Dean and Michael of repeatedly acting “out of their deep-seated misogynistic attitudes and sense of entitlement as family men … and of rationalizing their pathetic behavior which she says is meant to teach him that a woman has no rights, no matter what any trust instrument says.” The lawsuit also states that Dean and Michael “deeply believe that, regardless of the intentions of their parents and their will, the men are in charge and the women must be silent”.
Berberian argues that the Spanos family trust and subtrusts are virtually insolvent, that Spanos’ decision to move the Chargers to Los Angeles has proven financially ruinous, and that the family has no choice but to sell. the team to meet the trust’s obligations, which it says currently exceed $358 million.
The lawsuit also lists multiple allegations of “breaches of fiduciary duty” by Dean Spanos, who is accused of misappropriating $105 million from the trust into various debts. Spanos also allegedly manipulated the trust to borrow more than $60 million “for the unnecessary purchase of an aircraft for Dean and Michael’s use that has no legitimate business justification.”
Berberian also accuses his brothers of conspiring with Steven Cohen, the executive vice president and chief operating officer of The Spanos Corporation, to undermine Berberian by “deliberately” damaging his relationship with the pastor of his Greek Orthodox church, Fr. Alex Karloutsos.
Alex Spanos bought the San Diego Chargers in 1984 and Dean Spanos took over management of the franchise in 1994. The legal dispute became public in April 2021, when Berberian asked the Los Angeles County Superior Court to put the trust for sale.
Berberian is represented by Adam Streisand, who also represented Jeanie Buss when she wrested control of the Los Angeles Lakers from her brothers and Steve Ballmer during the trial to force Donald Sterling to sell the LA Clippers.
Neither Berberian nor Streisand responded to ESPN’s requests for comment.
A lawyer familiar with the case told ESPN that Berberian’s motive for filing the lawsuit was to publicly embarrass Spanos. The lawyer went on to say that Berberian’s three siblings, Dean, Michael and Alexis, have strongly opposed her in the past and “today’s trial will receive the same reaction”.
The NFL declined to comment on the matter.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.