Pacers owner Herb Simon is pursuing legal means to keep the estate of his late brother and his brother’s widow from claiming part ownership of the team, reports Mark Alesia of the Indianapolis Star. Simon and his brother, Melvin, who died in 2009, were once co-owners of the team. Herb Simon has asked a court to declare that neither Melvin’s estate nor Bren Simon, his widow, has any financial state in the team, Alesia writes.
Herb Simon states in court documents that he has been trying to resolve a dispute between Bren Simon and Melvin Simon’s children since Melvin’s death, as Alesia details. Bren Simon is also involved in a suit in which she’s seeking to recover more than $21MM in taxes she paid to the IRS in protest, according to Alesia. The IRS contends that money that Melvin Simon received in a reorganization of Pacers ownership shortly before his death was a gift, Alesia writes. The brothers had agreed at that point that Melvin Simon would not have to fund the team’s losses and was “released from personal guarantees,” as Alesia recounts.
The Pacers are worth $830MM, according to annual valuations that Forbes magazine released in January. Forbes pegged the franchise value at just $281MM in December 2009, a few months after Melvin Simon’s death.
Family fights for control of NBA franchises are nothing new. Pelicans owner Tom Benson retains control of the team after part of his family reportedly ordered him to undergo psychological competency testing. A judge ruled the other way in the battle for the Clippers, upholding Shelly Sterling’s right to sell the team to Steve Ballmer.