Technically speaking, Canadian millionaire Edgar Kaiser sold his interest in the Denver Broncos to Pat Bowlen in 1984. But it’s been hard to let go -- especially as the team’s value has soared from the $60 million or so that Bowlen paid for it to more than a billion dollars today.
Almost a decade ago, Kaiser belatedly sued Bowlen, claiming he’d violated the terms of their deal by offering superstar quarterback John Elway a piece of the team. (Elway turned down the secret deal, but it was still on the table when he was stumping for a shiny new stadium on Pat's behalf.) Kaiser claimed a right of first refusal of any transfer of any smidgen of the franchise, and the resulting legal battle led to our 2002 piece, "Pat’s Big Fumble," which examined the complicated web of Bowlen family interests that actually controls the team.
In 2004, a federal jury awarded Kaiser the right to buy a 10 percent stake in the team at bargain-basement prices. But his victory later evaporated in a series of appeal decisions, including one from the Colorado Court of Appeals this week. That’s a tough loss, and there’s still a chance Kaiser could challenge the decision. But after oodles of legal fees (and, perhaps, plenty of regrets about the quick turnaround profit he made on the team in the early 1980s), it looks like the man in the fur coat gets to keep his very expensive toy. -- Alan Prendergast
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