Complicating matters, Brittany Bowlen, about 20 years younger than Bowlen Wallace and a daughter of Pat Bowlen’s second wife, has also said she wants to run the club someday. She has earned an M.B.A. and worked at league headquarters and as a business analyst for the team, though because of her young age, she is not ready to take control of the team, which means the trustees can continue their control of the Broncos for the foreseeable future.
The Broncos would not make Brittany Bowlen available for comment, but at a charity event in October she told local reporters she has the ambition to eventually become the team’s controlling owner. “I’ll keep working toward those goals,” she said. “I’m not there yet, but I really believe I can get there.”
The trustees declined to discuss the case, including Bowlen Wallace’s claims, referring all questions to their lawyer, Dan Reilly. “Pat would be extremely disappointed to have his family affairs play out in the public,” Reilly said in a statement. “The claims made by Ms. Wallace are simply not true, and the facts will come out in the appropriate forum.”
Despite her public spat with the trustees, Bowlen Wallace does not carry herself like a rebel. She is at once elegant and seemingly tough. She speaks softly yet deliberately. While she knows she is fighting an uphill battle, she does not come off as bitter. An intense listener and avid storyteller, she seems comfortable in her own skin, which has a healthy glow, presumably from the time she spends riding horses.
The current standoff is the culmination of years of tension between the trustees and Bowlen Wallace. She graduated from the University of Colorado and spent two years in law school at the University of Denver before returning to Hawaii, where she grew up. She moved back to Denver in 2009 partly to be closer to her father, who was then showing signs of memory loss. In 2011, her father told her to speak with Ellis about finding a job at the Broncos.
“He said, ‘When are you starting work?’” Bowlen Wallace recalled. “‘You go talk to Joe and find out where your office is going to be.’”