Chargers' Dean Spanos Sued by Sister for Alleged Misogyny, Fiduciary Duty Breaches

Adam WellsJune 10, 2022

DENVER, COLORADO - NOVEMBER 28: Dean Spanos, owner of the Los Angeles Charges, visits the sidelines before their game against the Denver Broncos at Empower Field At Mile High on November 28, 2021 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Los Angeles Chargers owner Dean Spanos is being sued by his sister Dea Spanos Berberian.

Per ESPN's Adam Schefter and Kimberley A. Martin, Berberian filed a lawsuit in California on Friday for alleged misogynistic behavior and repeated breaches of fiduciary duty.

The lawsuit calls for Spanos to be removed from the family trust that owns 36 percent of the Chargers.

Spanos was also named in another lawsuit filed by his nephews. Jeff Miller of the Los Angeles Times reported in January that Dimitri and Lex Economou, Berberian's sons, accused him of redirecting money from the family trust.

Their lawsuit alleges that Dean and Michael Spanos, Dean's brother and Chargers vice chairman, changed the trust four years ago that resulted in money shifting from the trust "to themselves personally."

According to Schefter and Martin, Berberian is accusing her brothers of repeatedly acting "out of their deeply-held misogynistic attitudes and sense of entitlement as the men in the family ... and to rationalize their pitiable behavior which she believes is intended to teach her that a woman has no rights, no matter what any trust instrument might say."

Her lawsuit also states Dean and Michael "believe to their cores that ... men are in charge and women should shut up."

Berberian filed a petition in Los Angeles County Superior Court last year to force Spanos to put one-third of the Chargers' ownership stake up for sale because of mounting debts and expenses in excess of $350 million.

"Every day that passes increases the risks that the charitable beneficiaries and the Spanos family legacy will suffer irreparable financial and reputational damage," the petition said.

The petition included a letter in which Spanos vowed to hire an investment bank that would allow any member of the family to sell their stake in the Chargers.

Alex Spanos purchased a majority ownership stake of the Chargers in 1984. He gradually bought out other investors to bring his ownership stake up to 97 percent prior to his death in 2018.

Following Alex's death, his four children—Dean, Dea, Michael and Alexandra Spanos Ruhl—each received a 15 percent ownership stake in the team. The family trust owns 36 percent of the franchise, with the remaining 4 percent controlled by people outside the family.