Tom Benson: My family never rose to the task of succeeding me as Saints owner


The daughter and grandchildren of Saints owner Tom Benson recently filed a lawsuit in an attempt to get Benson declared incompetent of making decisions regarding the future of the Saints and his other business holdings after Benson changed his succession plans to put his wife Gayle in position to succeed him rather than his other family members.

The lawsuit alleges that Benson doesn’t know the current president of the United States and that Gayle Benson is manipulating her husband into handing over his holdings while feeding him a diet consisting of mainly candy, ice cream, soda and red wine. Benson responded to that lawsuit last week by calling the claims meritless and has now filed a formal response explaining why he decided to make the change.

“For years, Mr Benson attempted to involve each of the Petitioners in various aspects of his business interests and to groom them into the type of business persons that he could have confidence in to own and/or run those business interests when he died,” Benson’s lawyers wrote, via the New Orleans Times-Picayune. “Unfortunately, the Petitioners never rose to the task. After years of concern and misgivings about Petitioners’ abilities … Mr. Benson made the deliberate, reasoned, and difficult decision to change course and name as his successor his loving wife, Gayle Benson.”

The lawsuit by Benson’s daughter and her children alleges that Benson attempted to transfer hundreds of millions of dollars out of trusts that held them as beneficiaries, a move that was blocked by a trustee but one that certainly won’t be the last bit of maneuvering in what’s shaping up to be an ugly public airing of family grievances.

52 responses to “Tom Benson: My family never rose to the task of succeeding me as Saints owner

  1. See money doesn’t buy happiness.

    There is a certain law of life, I forget the name, that after you achieve so much wealth and money, more money doesn’t make you any happier.
    You reach a certain point where the only thing that makes you happier is by helping others.

    The Benson family has helped the City of New Orleans greatly with charity and giving the city more self pride by investing in various projects, but the children seem to have ended up spoiled and entitled.

  2. Its always a shame when stuff like this happens, and it doesn’t matter how much or how little you have. Everyone knows someone that had issues when a family member is close to, or has passed on, about what who gets what, or what goes where. Is all that really worth creating a rift with family members over?

  3. How sad is it when family turns against family because of money. I hope Mr Benson prevails as his fortune is his to do with and dispose of as he see’s fits, not his kids or GK’s.

  4. Benson should be commended. Instead of creating an Irsay 2.0, he wants his children to make something of themselves and earn what they get. America needs more parents (rich or poor) like Benson.

  5. Let me get this straight, you are wealthy because of your dad and now you are suing him for more? Come on now, he’s given you so much stuff you haven’t earned over your life, I guess you just always want more.

  6. See, I assume they’re all a bunch of twits.

    I don’t care what Benson did or did not do for N.O. – he wrote an open letter disowning his children.

    Does not make him incompetent but it demonstrates how pathetic their family is, all in all.

  7. I find it disturbing his lawyers call his children and grand children “petitioners”, multiple times. Sad. Sounds like Casey Casum

  8. I have little knowledge of the Benson family issues but the little I have read and it all seems awful. However, i am tired of hearing ridiculous comments like “money doesn’t make you happy”. This is an issue of potentially spoiled kids or a scheming new wife. It also has to do with people who grew up so wealthy that the prospect of hard work might not be appealing. In difference I and lots of others have worked hard and earned a good amount of money and it has absolutely made me happy. This is in no way arrogance, I am just saying, don’t blame money, its amazing! “Money doesn’t always make you happy” is a statement that is true because nothing makes 100% of us happy. But the logic that money doesn’t make things easier and better and happier if earned or handled correctly is just dumb. That saying is something wealthy people made up to keep poor people happy.

  9. cobrala2 says:
    Jan 27, 2015 6:01 PM
    See, I assume they’re all a bunch of twits.

    I don’t care what Benson did or did not do for N.O. – he wrote an open letter disowning his children.

    Does not make him incompetent but it demonstrates how pathetic their family is, all in all.

    He didn’t disown them. He just isn’t putting them in charge of his businesses. For all we know the kids are getting millions each and the grand kids too, but they aren’t getting to control the Saints or his other businesses.

    Knowing what I do about wealthy families and getting to meet several of the NFL owners and their families, he’s probably doing the right thing.

  10. Not that it matters, but this is Benson’s third wife and has been married to her for about 10 years. The petitioners are the adoptive daughter from a previous marriage and her two kids. The granddaughter, Rita, has been the face of the team for about 10 years and been through about 30 assistants in 10 years. She was even suspended by Benson a few years ago. Florio can post those rumors. Most, if not all of the team love the wife, and Rita, well, not so much. Look at the clause that Payton wanted to put in his contract in case Rita took over.

  11. And the world turns again – daily churn of the news cycle for Tuesday. Tune in tomorrow for the next exciting episode of ‘Team Gayle’ versus ‘Team Rita.’
    Sad that this is happening and I ook forward to the day when there is no news for several days in a row. Please, Judge Reese, ‘gag’ all of these folks and put everyone out of this misery!

  12. When I used to work for one of the more prominent banks in the country I was once presented with the problem of two brothers fighting over their mothers bank accounts after her death. Brother one brought relatives to vouch for him against the other brother. Brother two brought in a file folder with bill he says brother one owes him money for. This dilemma wasted over two hours of my day to hear these two guys argue over how this money was to be split. How much money were they fighting over you may be wondering. The total amount of their mothers accounts was only $2,000 so I can only imagine how ugly this is going to get for hundreds of millions.

  13. Wait, this country has a president in charge? At least Old Man Benson knows what to do and say without a teleprompter. He is COMPETENT unlike other folks mentioned in this post.

  14. You forgot the second half of the quote where Benson said: Like President Reagan will one day rise to the task of crushing the commies.

  15. Get a job and earn your own money like the rest of us.
    And when I’m that freakin old I’ll eat candy for dinner too, what’s the point of eating healthy when you have one foot in the grave?

  16. If the family was so concerned about how his mental health, why didn’t they take any action to ensure this didn’t happen?

    When family members feel that someone has lost the power to make rational decisions there are actions they can take, such as petitioning for power of attorney, that would prevent the individual from making decisions that could jeopardize the family business.

    If they knew that Benson was crazy, why did they wait to do anything about it? Why weren’t they worried that he would do something like this?

    Simple. Because they didn’t think he was crazy until he cut them out.

  17. esracerx46 says:
    Jan 27, 2015 6:03 PM
    I find it disturbing his lawyers call his children and grand children “petitioners”, multiple times. Sad. Sounds like Casey Casum

    You are obviously unfamiliar with how legal documents are prepared. The lawyer is required to address the family as “petitioners”. In legalese, that’s what they are. If you read the entire document, which is not posted here, you would see that in the first paragraph the lawyer would name the family members and then write “hereby known as petitioners”, so that in other parts of the document it is understood who he is referring to without him having to continually name every one of them individually.

  18. I walked away from a sizable chunk of change in inheritance from my grandparents because of the disgusting nonsense my family engaged in fighting over that money. it wasn’t worth selling my soul. inheritance is the worst, it makes people way more miserable than it does help them. enjoy the free ride on gramp’s dime when he is alive and set yourself up to be your own person after he is gone

  19. Good for him. Mark Davis is a fine example of the father passing the team on to a totally clueless incompetent.

  20. This should all be held over until Festivus — when the airing of grievances is part of the ritual celebration.

  21. What happened to having the people u love in your live over money?? Lost my grandparents 3 months apart who had plenty of $…..haven’t seen a dime yet and I could care less…..would much rather have my family than the almighty dollar

  22. Benson started out as a car salesman…made his own fortune with hard work and determination…he’s a proud man and deservedly so.

  23. Met Ms Benson at the US Ladies Open here in Colorado. She let me take a photo of her Super Bowl ring (yes, she got a ring) with me wearing it. Enough said. Super nice.

  24. abninf says:
    Jan 27, 2015 6:06 PM
    He doesn’t want to know who the president is. Trust me.



    You just won the internet!!! Post of the day!!!


  25. What is the succession plan for his other business holdings?

    He made a lot of money before he bought the Saints and these businesses have not been mentioned, as far as I know.

  26. The lawyer is calling them “Petitioners” because that is what they are. THEY made it a legal matter by “petitioning” the court to have him declared mentally incompetent.

  27. Let’s take the ultimate challenge. Here’s your choice:

    [1] You can be Tom Benson, 87 years old, with perhaps one or two years left to live, $1.5B net worth; or

    [2] You can be you.

    Unanimous choice?!? Wow, I didn’t expect that.

  28. Anybody who says money won’t make you happy just doesn’t know where to shop…..
    I’d rather be rich and miserable as opposed to poor and miserable.

  29. Nice kids. I’m sure they’ve always been very appreciative of waking up on third base. Kind of reminds me of those talking statues in the mall part of Caesars place about Atlantis and the Kings rotten kids.

  30. Glad anytime I get to see billionaires fighting to the death among themselves. Saves us the trouble.

  31. to the person who thinks it sad the response calls benson’s children and grandchildren “petitioners”, i think the correct legal term for people filing a petition is petitioners. you see, it saves the time and effort of repeating the actual names each time.

    what’s sad is that one would feel entitled to sue a living person for an inheritance that wasn’t earned..

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.