A day after the Los Angeles Times published a fairly damning report detailing how Jim and Johnny Buss were trying to wrest control of the Lakers away from their sister, Jeanie Buss, the pair of brothers are trying to say that they never intended to do so.
Jeanie Buss is currently the controlling owner of the Lakers, according to her lawyers, a position which requires her to sit on the team’s five-member board of directors. But her brothers—who hold ownership interest in the team, inherited from their father—reportedly looked to hold an emergency election for new directors this week and submitted a list with four prospective names that did not include Jeanie.
The brothers are not denying that they left Jeanie off the list of potential directors they put together this week. But, through a lawyer, they are denying that any of this was meant to oust Jeanie and are claiming that they’ve just voted to re-elect her as controlling owner. As Jim and Johnny’s lawyer, Robert Sacks, told Ramona Shelburne of ESPN:
“This week, we had a call from Jeanie’s lawyers saying that we were somehow going to oust her as the controlling owner of the Lakers. We informed her lawyers orally and in writing that Jim and Johnny fully support Jeanie as the controlling owner of the Lakers. And then inexplicably she then rushed into court saying they’re trying to oust me as the controlling owner. I can tell you, Jim Buss and Johnny Buss, as the co-trustees, who vote shares in the Lakers, support Jeanie as the controlling owner. We got notice yesterday that she was going into court, and going in today for a restraining order and other relief. Yesterday, we’d already confirmed it, both Jim Buss and Johnny Buss signed a formal corporate document that voted the trust shares to re-elect Jeanie as the controlling owner. I guess that’s what — belt, suspenders and duct tape?”
Sacks did not answer ESPN’s questions about why the brothers left Jeanie off their list of potential directors and instead would only reiterate that they support her as controlling owner. The clearest possibilities there seem to be either ignorance, in the form of not being aware that removing her from the board of directors would invalidate her position as controlling owner, or an attempt to save face after their efforts here backfired. Neither is an especially good look.