Report: Benson family turmoil an issue for the Saints

AP

The New Orleans Saints are a team without their leader on the field with quarterback Drew Brees unsigned, and a team without their leader on the sidelines with head coach Sean Payton suspended. And they may also be a team facing leadership questions at the highest levels of their front office.

Saints owner Tom Benson has often praised his 35-year-old granddaughter, Rita Benson LeBlanc, as the right person to lead the franchise for decades to come. But the New Orleans Times-Picayune reports, citing multiple unnamed sources, that LeBlanc is serving some form of unofficial paid administrative leave, imposed by Benson, because the man who has owned the Saints for 27 years is growing concerned with his granddaughter’s approach to business.

The report is short on specifics, saying only that Benson saw “a pattern of behavior that needed to be corrected” from his granddaughter. Among the issues raised are a “lack of focus and abrasive management style,” evidenced by, among other things, going through an estimated 30 assistants in her six years of working full-time with the team. She’s also reportedly “developed a reputation for stalling projects,” and Benson (who made his own money) is concerned that his granddaughter (who was born rich) has developed a sense of entitlement.

Benson, who will turn 85 in July, has said that he’ll eventually turn over control of his team to a family member, and despite these issues, it’s still widely believed that LeBlanc will be that family member. LeBlanc, who has the title of executive vice president, has been the only member of Benson’s family to take a hands-on, day-to-day role in the franchise, and she has been the subject of mostly favorable publicity for her role in helping the Saints and the city rebuild after Hurricane Katrina.

LeBlanc is expected to continue to play a major role with the Saints going forward. But her current leave from the team comes at a time when the franchise seems to have no stability at all, on the field or off.

82 responses to “Report: Benson family turmoil an issue for the Saints

  1. Entitlement? Hmmmm didnt we just here this same thing said about rg3? However this situation and person really sounds like a problem.. was rg3 born rich, does he even have 1 assistant?

  2. This is how it goes in an aristocracy. While the King may very well have earned the throne … there’s no guarantee that the various Princes and Princesses are anything special. Take a look at Prince Charles if you need an example.

  3. Tom’s message to her: “Leave now or there will be a bounty on your head — or ankle.” You choose….

  4. “paid administrative leave”

    Fancy term for putting someone on the chopping block. Sounds as if she’s been fired.

  5. So when the next labor fight comes around all the pro-owner shills will be standing up for the Rita’s, Irsays, etc owners who did nothing but were born on third base. Entitlement. Lazy. Unfocused. She will not give a dam about the players, only profit so she can live a charmed life. The league should make the family sell after Benson is no longer around instead of giving it to his neer to do granddaughter.

  6. Surely it’s Roger Goodell or Greg Williams fault right Taints* fans…..30 assistants in 5 years, I’d say there’s definitely a sense of entitlement, just as the Taints* received after Katrina.

  7. Somebody in that organization better take control and get Brees signed. Geez, talk about a totally dysfunctional mess in the City that Care Forgot.

  8. I missed the part where this is a problem for the saints? A problem for the bensons? Yes. The saints? Doubtful, until benson passes the torch.

  9. Wait his granddaughter is taking over the team and he really doesn’t want her running the business aspect of it?
    My only question is: is she single? I’m a panthers fan, but I still wouldn’t mind owning the saints.

  10. She is doing a better job than most males in her position, who only have their jobs due to family or the “good ol boy network”.
    Most people have no idea how hard it is to find the right assistant, and she has no problem axing those who don’t meet her standards.

    Benson should be proud that she demands excellence, and tosses those aside that don’t measure up. You go girl!

  11. He must see a lot of himself in her. Benson goes through a lot of personnel, particularly managers, at his car dealerships.

  12. Ah yes, another shining example of a man mixing toxic family poison into the business. At least the Saints won a Super Bowl with Benson as owner but it seems it will be the only one until the family sells the franchise down the road. As a long-suffering Falcons fan, I know all too well about family poison, having followed the “5 Smiths Inc” family soap opera since the 70s. Only when they sold to Arthur Blank did Falcons fans have hope for better days. I hope we get our Super Bowl win in Arthur’s lifetime, and mine!

  13. Sounds like she has been a known problem and he is trying to “scare her straight” if you will. If this doesn’t work and she still ends up getting the team, Saints fans could be in for some bad years ahead.

  14. Let me summarize the anticipated responses from the usual suspects:

    The Bountys R a LIE!!! No players were injured except a SAINT!! Your all jellus!! Geaux Saints! married my cousin The Road to the SUPER BOWL goes thru NOLA!! WHO DAT!!!!!

  15. What a Bunch of schadenfreudes

    from proverbs “Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth” be nice little Christians take joy in the hardship of others is a no no.

  16. This would be a 1000 times more interesting if she were sleeping with someone from the Saints, like Brees

  17. Gee, didn’t grandpa Benson notice something was seriously wrong when she went through oh, I dont know maybe the first 5 or 10 assistants? 30 assistants in 6 years? Wtf?

  18. Lets do a POLL.
    Thumbs UP if you knew this was for Rita Leblanc Benson
    Thumbs DOWN if you thought this was for CEDRIC BENSON getting a call from the saints, and the title meant his family issues were why they wouldn’t sign him

    Seriously, With BENSON, I assume its cedric benson, not some 85 yr old OWNER. I vote thumbs down, cause honestly who cares about some owners family for the saints?

  19. The hits just keep on coming for the Saints. I don’t think Brees will sign his tender either. Peyton Manning proved you could take a year off football and still get $96 million why shouldn’t he try?

  20. Hey kleeo384 , isn’t that you standing next to Obama in the picture ? You must have just cashed your welfare check, according to that big smile on your face.

  21. Kleeo, Romney has been very successful and is quite honestly the exact opposite of what Benson-Leblanc is being portrayed as here. I say this as someone who won’t vote for Romney, but let’s give credit where it’s due.

    As far as this story goes, it’s 100% true. I live in New Orleans and heard about this weeks ago from someone who knows the Bensons.

  22. itsmebobd says:
    Apr 22, 2012 11:25 AM
    Lets do a POLL.
    Thumbs UP if you knew this was for Rita Leblanc Benson
    Thumbs DOWN if you thought this was for CEDRIC BENSON getting a call from the saints, and the title meant his family issues were why they wouldn’t sign him

    Seriously, With BENSON, I assume its cedric benson, not some 85 yr old OWNER. I vote thumbs down, cause honestly who cares about some owners family for the saints?
    ————————————————–

    How about thumbs down for being a moron?

  23. Naughty Rita needs to be “corrected.” But she looks kinda like Tom Benson with long hair and boobs.

  24. Thanks for giving the Viking fans another opportunity to vent about the Saints while ignoring their own problems, ineptitude, lack of championships, crappy stadium, and impending departure to Los Angeles. Ya, you betcha:)!

  25. lionsdetroitcom says:
    Apr 22, 2012 10:07 AM
    The Saints are an absolute mess, I’m actually starting to feel bad for their organization.
    ————————–
    You know you’re in trouble when Lions fans even feel bad for you.

  26. This of course has nothing to do with all the TDs they’ll be scoring this season.

    11 wins at least.

  27. a) a new generation version of georgia frontierre former rams owner who ran club into ground and moved them to st louis from los angeles(even though winning a superbowl there her leadership stunk) .not to mention she was all about the glitz and glamour

    b)team could be led by a person who’s commitment isnt there and just cares about money and the spotlight and have a her way or no way attitude kind of like al davis ,minus the football knowledge..

    benson better get someone in position to take the rigns thats comitted or it will be hard times in nola and the rreturn of the AINTS and brown paper bags!!!!

  28. I Thought there was a rule that nfl owners could not own any other sports teams? anyhow,i bet the “AINTS” return this season with all the turmoil down there! i heard they wanted dog the bounty hunter to coach next year for sean peyton!

  29. I bet that she is a real pleasure to be around when she is loaded….YIKES. She’ll fly through husbands faster than the secretary scenario!

  30. She was seen going into Greg Williams house and Vilma was seen soon after going in with a hamlet on. Bree’s was also there looking for an explanation.

  31. skinstidecubsfan says:
    Apr 22, 2012 12:33 PM
    I Thought there was a rule that nfl owners could not own any other sports teams? anyhow,i bet the “AINTS” return this season with all the turmoil down there! i heard they wanted dog the bounty hunter to coach next year for sean peyton!
    ________________________________

    We’ll see how much “turmoil” they have when your Skins get stomped in Week 1.

  32. Just a spoiled little rich girl who has a huge sense of entitlement because she knows she’s in an incredible position of having the keys to the empire handed to her and there’s nobody that can stop it. She doesn’t dig in and do the hard work because…. she’s doesn’t have to. She’s got lots of “minions” to do everything for her and because she has all the power and control she can do whatever she wants to. Loves the glitz and world travel and spotlight jet-set highlife stuff…. but no so much the hard work stuff. Thus the “lack of focus” tag. Anytime some lucky sperm club member is “anointed” the ruler of the Kingdom when then haven’t earned the right means the Kingdom is in serious peril. Sounds like old Tom… who built the Kingdom and earned his way in life… sees that his granddaughter hasn’t learned the values and work ethic he wants to see.

  33. There is no turmoil as long as Benson observes a problem and is taking the proper steps to correct it. How many times have you seen the owner of a company allow his kids, grand kids and relatives free reign of his company and turn a blind eye to their incompetence? At least Benson is saying, “If you don’t work as hard as me, then you’re out.”

  34. The NFL rule on franchise ownership is that an owner cannot own a sports franchise outside of their own market, in other words, Benson can buy the Hornets, but he can’t but the Charlotte Bobcats.

  35. The NFL rule on franchise ownership is that an owner cannot own a sports franchise outside of their own market, in other words, Benson can buy the Hornets, but he can’t buy the Charlotte Bobcats.

  36. lionsdetroitcom says: Apr 22, 2012 10:07 AM

    The Saints are an absolute mess, I’m actually starting to feel bad for their organization.

    =================

    hahahahaha…..don’t feel bad for us please. As a Lions fan, you have seen lows that most fans cant even imagine. When was the last time you won a playoff game? Hell, besides last year, when was your last winning season??
    sure was nice blowing yall out last year.
    Get real dude

  37. Since when does being more physical than all of the competition taint a Lombardi trophy? The bounty wasn’t “cheating” it was just being vicious and nasty, lets not confuse the two. Just how many “tainted Lombardis” does the great Tom Brady have from spying, which was actual cheating? A lot of you so-called “tough guys” that used to always talk of “punching ’em in the mouth” have recently become soft puzzies just to justify bashing the Saints. But the signings of Lofton, Hawthorne, and Bunkley means that you puzzies will have to sit back and watch another deep playoff run while bashing. WHO DAT!! no TWO DAT!!!!

  38. To the juddstir,

    I hope you read this. So you think the Saints received special treatment after Katrina? You have no clue what this city, and team went through during that time, if you did you wouldn’t make idiotic comments like you did, I feel sorry for you and all of the people that are “haters” making these kind of comments, you’re probably one of the morons that were saying that it wasn’t worth trying to rebuild New Orleans too. Well guess what we came back as a City, a community and our team endured and won a super bowl, I know, go ahead and call it “tainted” like the other losers that can’t stand to see real winners….

  39. Bah, Benson should pull a Davis and keep on going ’til he can’t go no more then leave the team to his oldest child as a “take that!” for any alleged feelings of entitlement.

    I have no problem with a woman owner. My issues with crap teams around the league should say as much.

    I harp on the players for bitching about not getting enough money when they moake more in a year then I’ll ever see; I harp on coaching staff’s that had no idea what their doing; I harp on ownership that either looks like they don’t care about their bottom line (Glazers, Jones anybody?) or have a fixation with Tweeter and must absolutely inform us when they go to the can (Irsay is the hint).

    Why can’t owners be like the two best examples of keeping things in house and quiet? Pat Bowlen and Robert Kraft rarely make headlines and when they do it’s for a much better reason that “Oh, poor team is embroiled with yet more crap that nobody really cares about!”.

    Bah, shut up and give us football. We, the fans, want that good old in-your-face smash mouth where the rock gets pounded, bodies fly, heads come off and somebody gets lit up like a Christmas tree. Y’know, the good stuff.

  40. Still alot of haters.they want to c my team stop shinning. Pray our fame start declining whining like girlies. In my biggie voice. Pray and pray on our down fall

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