New Orleans Saints, Pelicans Owner Tom Benson to Transfer Control to Wife, Not Granddaughter


According to reports, longtime New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson has decided to transfer ownership of the Black and Gold as well as the New Orleans Pelicans to his wife Gayle after he passes away.

Rita Benson LeBlanc, who was initially assumed to take on that role, will no longer be his successor.  Apparently, Rita’s offices at the club’s headquarters in Metairie, LA have been vacated and she is no longer with the team.

The news comes as a bit of a surprise, however, in 2012, Benson LeBlanc struggled with her management style in the front offices, which forced her removal from any football operations.

Benson, who is now 87, said in comments released by the Saints, “I have had time to reflect and figure out if we have the ownership succession plan correct after I die, And you know, my wife Gayle is my family too and a very important part of my life.  You just know when the time is at hand to start to really think this through and make sure you have everything covered.

“It was documented that my daughter Renee, my grandson Ryan and of course my granddaughter Rita would have a large part of my estate, upon my death, including the two teams and other assets.  However, this is a decision about the legacy of things that I have built in my lifetime – my family, including Renee, Rita and Ryan, just as they have been – will be very well taken care of after I die.  But to finish my thought, this is based solely on doing what is right.

“I have spent the better part of my life building businesses and as a byproduct of building successful business, I have been fortunate enough in my life to be able to make sizable donations over a long period of time that directly influence my community — the city of New Orleans.  It is what I am most proud of in my life.

“And right behind that is the joy I get watching our fans after we win, and secure championships for our city.  We have tasted that before and we want to provide that again.  For that to continue we need to plan for the future and we need to keep the continuity and stability of what we have built at the New Orleans Saints and Pelicans.  My wife Gayle will ensure this.  Her love for New Orleans and giving back to the community she loves is unmatched,” Benson continued.

“Gayle will own the teams upon my death and as I noted Rita will not be involved in the ownership or management of the Saints or Pelicans,” Mr. Benson said.  “My family, just as they have been for their entire lives, will be well taken care of.  The reason for my decision is about laying the foundation for the organization to continue to be successful.”

While Mr. Benson continues to battle the effects of old age, the organization has seen countless changes since the team finished 7-9 in 2014 after initially being a Super Bowl favorite.  This is just another fragment to the adjustments that continue to poor in.