Jody Allen, sister of the late Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, is the executor and trustee of her brother’s estate. She is responsible for overseeing the execution of his will and settling his affairs.
According to multiple reports Paul Allen’s will states that the Paul G. Allen Trust, which contains billions in assets, including the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks and NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers, will be liquidated upon his death and the assets used to fund his passion projects. Paul Allen died in October 2018 and the Trail Blazers have been rumored to be on the sales block for the past few years, but all’s quiet on the Seahawks front. Is Jody Allen trying to hold onto the Seahawks against her brother’s wishes?
Seattle-based writer John Canzano wrote last week that Jody Allen has no options, as her brother’s will and his wishes are clear. She is legally bound to carry out the order.
“Paul directed that the trust be liquidated upon his death and the assets used to fund his passion projects,” a source said. “None of this is up in the air. The instructions are clear: The sports franchises and everything in the trust must be sold.”
According to Canzano, people with knowledge of the NBA’s expansion plans and which franchises would be available for purchase expect the Blazers to be positioned for auction in the next six to 18 months. There’s also no chance the team is relocated, as the NBA and its Board of Governors have already earmarked Seattle and Las Vegas as the next two expansion cities and they want to collect those combined expansion fees of roughly $6 billion.
But there is no sourcing around any potential sale of the Seahawks. Jody Allen has not been featured or present much around the Trail Blazers organization. A very different position than with the Seahawks, where she was seen in the team’s war room during the NFL draft in April and is constantly mentioned by head coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider.
“Jody Allen’s interest in remaining an owner of the Seahawks is unconfirmed. However, an insider at Vulcan, Inc. said this week that he believed Jody was slow-playing the potential sale of the NFL team — leaving the Seahawks for last — because she had interest in retaining an ownership stake.”
Ultimately, it may not matter whether Jody Allen wants to keep an ownership stake or not. As the executor and trustee she has a fiduciary responsibility. If she fails to do so she would be in violation of the trust and could be removed as executor and trustee. She could also face possible criminal charges.
A likely reason the liquidation of the assets is taking so long is that we’re not talking about selling low cost items. These are items with extremely exclusionary price tags. The pool of available buyers isn’t that big. Jody could be holding out for the right buyer. It’s also possible that she could be looking for a loophole to maintain an ownership stake in at least the Seahawks, and the legal ramifications are being explored.
However this situation is resolved it will be fascinating to see what happens to the Seahawks and Trail Blazers.