Thanksgiving with the Buss family is going to be interesting.
Jeanie Buss successfully thwarted a hostile takeover attempt by her brothers and, according to the Los Angeles Times, has won control of the team.
Buss, Phil Jackson’s ex-fiancee, had been running the team the last three years, but she was challenged by her two brothers, Jim and Johnny, for control of the family’s 66% share of the franchise following the death of Jerry Buss, the family patriarch. Jerry Buss died four years ago.
In one of the great family feuds in sports, the brothers tried to push out their sister, but Jeanie emerged as the clear victor Monday in Los Angeles County Superior Court.
“The message is clear here: Do not underestimate Jeanie Buss,” her lawyer, Adam Streisand, told the Times. “There is not going to be a palace coup. Not now. Not ever.”
The court ruled that the Buss brothers must recognize Jeanie as the controlling owner of the team. She will also head up the Lakers’ board of directors. The three siblings were co-trustees of the four trusts that own more than half of the Lakers.
Earlier this month, Jeanie Buss, 55, filed a lawsuit to stop the takeover. Jim Buss has now agreed to step down as a trustee, and according to the Times, will be replaced by younger sister Janie.
“Jeanie is captain of the ship,” Janie Buss told ESPN. “My sister is the one who finally played her aces. I’m just behind her. I’ve always been behind her. Now she can focus on where the Lakers need to go.
“This is a new beginning for us as a team. Now we don’t need to worry about this family stuff. We can focus on the Lakers now.”