Firing the latest salvo in the legal battle over the fortune of Peter Angelos, his younger son is asking a judge to invalidate changes that the Baltimore Orioles owner’s wife and his elder son made over control of the trust in which the team and other possessions have been placed.
In a motion filed Monday in Baltimore County Circuit Court, Louis Angelos argues that his brother, John, the Orioles’ chairman and CEO, has gone against their ailing father’s desire that his two sons share equally in the decision-making and distribution of his vast holdings.
“Things have not gone according to Peter’s plan,” according to in the motion. “John has been working assiduously for an extended period to exclude his brother and to seize complete control of Peter’s business empire.”
Attorneys for John Angelos and Georgia Angelos either declined to comment Tuesday or could not be reached.
Peter Angelos, who turned 93 on the Fourth of July, has been in deteriorating health for about five years and no longer manages his affairs.
The motion is part of a suit that Louis Angelos, 53, filed last month, revealing a family feud over a billion-dollar-plus portfolio amassed by the patriarch, which includes the Major League Baseball team, a law firm that won major awards and settlements for victims of asbestos and tobacco, and substantial real estate holdings.
Since the filing of the lawsuit, Georgia Angelos, 80, has publicly sided with her son John, 55, saying that she alone has the authority to manage the family’s assets. In October 2017, Peter Angelos had transferred his power of attorney to his wife to act on his behalf.
At issue in the recent motion is what happens after Georgia Angelos’ death. Louis Angelos claimed that amendments to his father’s estate planning would allow Georgia Angelos to set aside her husband’s desire for an equitable distribution of his assets between the two brothers after her death, and instead divide them up as she wishes.
“Rather than distribute the estate evenly, as Peter intended, Georgia could distribute the bulk or all the assets to John, or to charity, and distribute little or even nothing to Lou,” the motion states.
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The motion argues that no one can amend a trust unless that is expressly authorized in the terms of the trust and the power of attorney transfer. The motion says Louis Angelos was misled about one of the amendments, and was told that it was necessary for tax purposes and to meet MLB requirements.
Louis Angelos is asking that the amendments be ruled “void and unenforceable.”
His lawsuit put the family, as private as they are prominent, in an unwelcome spotlight. Among its revelations was the family’s alleged intent to sell the Orioles, as some have long speculated, although Louis Angelos claimed his brother had thwarted those plans. Louis Angelos also intimated in the suit that should his brother succeed in gaining total control of the team, he could move it to Tennessee, where he has a home in Nashville and his wife has a country music business.
John Angelos denied that in a statement after the lawsuit was filed, repeating a past vow that the Orioles would remain in Baltimore “as long as Fort McHenry is standing watch over the Inner Harbor.”
The lawsuit came as the Orioles’ current lease with the Maryland Stadium Authority, which bars the team from leaving Camden Yards, expires at the end of next year. Negotiations are continuing on a new lease, and the stadium authority has said the lawsuit will not interrupt those discussions.
John Angelos and his mother have yet to file a response to Louis Angelos’ lawsuit. But they have been busy compiling a legal team, including veterans of previous estate battles and high-profile litigation. Among Georgia Angelos’ attorneys, for example, is Los Angeles-based Adam F. Streisand, who has represented Jeanie Buss in a battle against her brothers over control of the Los Angeles Lakers.
John Angelos’ lawyers include is Steven D. Silverman of Baltimore. While perhaps best known locally for representing former Mayor Catherine Pugh in the “Healthy Holly” fraud case, Silverman also has been involved in many complex civil cases, according to his law firm’s website. He has represented former professional football and hockey players in litigation against their leagues.