Saints Owner Tom Benson Releases Statement Regarding Lawsuit Filed by Family Members


It’s been a busy day, or rather busy few weeks surrounding the New Orleans Saints ownership ordeal.  By now, all of us are familiar with the Benson family drama that has taken place.

Saints and Pelicans proprietor Tom Benson made some changes in who will take control of his empire upon his death.  The 87-year-old’s initial plans were to grant ownership of his NFL and NBA franchises to his granddaughter, Rita Benson LeBlanc.

However, Tom announced that he would hand over command to his current and third wife, Gayle.  As expected, the news did not go over so well with his daughter Renee and her two children, Rita and Ryan, who are all now petitioners in a lawsuit filed against their elder relative and mentor.

The suit basically says that the owner is old and incompetent, claiming that the billionaire’s “health and mental capacity have significantly declined” and that he has “fallen under the influence” of his wife.  Following that mess, a Texas judge decided to temporarily freeze Mr. Benson’s assets in the Lone Star State, a place where Tom has a brimming portion of business.

Now it is being ordered for doctors to test Benson’s competence through mental examination.  The New Orleans proprietor is obviously upset, but he is not backing down.  A statement from Tom for immediate release was made public by Saints and Pelicans Senior VP of Communications and Broadcasting Greg Bensel on the afternoon of Wednesday, Feb. 10:

While I am extremely disappointed in these lawsuits filed by Renee (Benson), Rita (LeBlanc) and Ryan (LeBlanc) against me in Texas and Louisiana that have challenged my competency and my ability to manage my own assets, I must state right now that it has only strengthened my resolve to defend what I have built over the last fifty plus years. The very businesses from which those that have brought these lawsuits have benefitted.

I have instructed my attorneys to spare no effort in defending my rights and the decisions I have made. The decisions I have made are well within my rights to make at any point in my life, and rest assured that I am making sound decisions. I need not look any further than to read the allegations made against me in these multiple lawsuits to rest easy that I have made the correct decisions. As I stated on January 22, the decisions I am making now will benefit the long term success, stability and continuity of the New Orleans Saints, Pelicans and all of the businesses I have built. With stability and continuity comes success and with success comes great things for our community, our city, our state and most importantly, our fans.

In addition, I have instructed my attorney Phil Wittmann to bring forth this medical exam of me as soon as possible. I look forward to taking this test. I respect the Honorable Kern Reese’ decision today, as I know he had a tough decision to make, but I look forward to putting this behind us and moving on.”

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