Tom Benson: Family lawsuits have only strengthened my resolve

AP

Shortly after news broke that Saints owner Tom Benson has been ordered to undergo a mental exam as family members claim in court that he’s not competent to manage his businesses, Benson released a statement saying that he’s more firm than ever in his belief that he knows what he’s doing.

The 87-year-old Benson released a statement saying his daughter and grandchildren will not be able to use the courts to gain control of his football team and other assets.

“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,” Benson said in a statement. “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.”

Benson insists that he will run his team as long as he lives and then bequeath the team to his wife. His daughter (from a previous marriage) and grandchildren insist that they won’t give up what they think is rightfully theirs without a fight. This is already a sordid family story, and it may get uglier, as neither side looks willing to back down.

69 responses to “Tom Benson: Family lawsuits have only strengthened my resolve

  1. “His daughter (from a previous marriage) and grandchildren insist that they won’t give up what they think is rightfully theirs without a fight.”

    How is it rightfully theirs if the person whose it actually is is saying it isn’t theirs?

  2. Well if my father had intentions of passing along the family business to me then gets married and those plans drastically change, I would be furious too!

  3. I am so sorry that your family have become the monsters that they are today. I guess money is the root to all evil. In today’s world, the spoiled children of successful people feel they are entitled to everything and that the world revolves around them. I’m glad that you see them for who they really are! When they are ungrateful for all that you have done, maybe it is best to sell the team to the right owner and donate the proceeds to charity. I work for everything I have and don’t think I am entitled to anything more.

  4. Rita, his grand daughter, thinks she’s Cameron Diaz from “Any Given Sunday” but she’s really just the fat girl from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

    The team’s not your honey…move on.

  5. My kids KNEW I was incompetent from about the time they were ten until about a year after they graduated from college. When I brought them into the business and let them deal with scheduling, dispatching, chasing lost trucks, dealing with drivers, suddenly, I was not so incompetent anymore.

  6. Imagine how many times this same story is playing out in Wisconsin, as hundreds of Packer owners are probably dying every year, most likely of liver disease. Families torn apart as they argue over who is the rightful owner of that valuable Packer stock.

  7. This man probably feels like the loneliest man in the world right now. We all dream of providing for our families I gaurantee he didnt foresee his kids one day turning on him for the very thing he wanted to provide to them the entire time…right now they are just scratching and clawing to squeeze this guy for perpetual riches.

  8. Well if my father had intentions of passing along the family business to me then gets married and those plans drastically change, I would be furious too!

    ————————————————-
    He’s been married to his wife for 11 years, and she’s 67. He didn’t suddenly marry some 25-year-old gold-digger and change his will. By all reports he’s making these moves because his daughter and grandchildren have demonstrated they’re not capable of running the teams. He’s still leaving them substantial financial support, but they want more. They’re his assets and if he wants to give them to Lassie, that’s his right.

  9. I am told Benson has 100 Million set aside for his family to share. I guess that wasn’t good enough for the greedy brats. I hope he changes it so they get each one dollar, and tell them not to spend it all in one place…

  10. I’m always skeptical about these released statements. They are rarely actually written by the person “releasing” the statement and are instead written by lawyers and/or PR firms. The best ones are from athletes who can barely write or speak English, yet the statement is written in perfect gramatically correct English using multisyllable words and legal sounding verbiage.

    It’s clear Benson’s lawyer wrote this. Let’s hear it from Benson himself and not reading some prepared statement the lawyer or his wife wrote.

  11. Sad…..

    Money grabbing relatives who’ve had their eye on owning the team all the time while pretending to love him so much. They don’t deserve a penny.

  12. …poor guy SHOULD be enjoying his golden, golden years enjoying life…instead he has to get his shotgun lawyers out and shot the circling sharks. I hope a decision is made quickly in his favor.

  13. I hope he gets a clean bill of health, then to show he is of sound mind he should drop them from any thing he has. If he wants to give his wealth to the homeless shelters so be it, its his money, he don’t owe his spoiled ex family folks anything. A great time to disowned the leeches. Bill

  14. Almost seems like Benson changed his will to see how they’d react. Would they accept the trust fund he mentioned would be enough to take care of them for life or go straight to lawyers. I wonder if he would have changed his mind if they’d asked to work for or help one of the teams instead of lawyering up right away

  15. Sorry this is occurring……..Hope he proves himself competent and the courts let him move on to protect his assets, his current wife and this can be completed in a short period of time……….Sorry for his children and extended family, that they feel this is the right route to take……..

  16. Even if some quack doctor questions his competency today, how could he say anything about the man’s competency on the day he changed his will?

  17. Uncle Sam has the solution for Tom. And it involves Benson going to the cuckoo farm. Too much at stake this way. If everything goes to the wife (only 67) no estate taxes, if it goes to anybody else huge estate taxes.

  18. Like I have said before, I hope this move to prove that their father/grandfather is losing his mind only costs these jerks more of the money they never earned. Spend all this money on lawyers and anger the man who gave you all this money to spend on lawyers until you hurt him enough that you are left with NOTHING.

    Ha, it would be nice if your lawyers saw how classless you are being and doubled their rates and half-fast the case so you have no shot at winning yet they charge you for years to come.

  19. I think (something that obviously very rarely happens with most who post here) that I’d like to know why the national media is coming out with guns blazing against the daughter and granddaughter?
    Every national media account of this suit leans decidedly against Benson’s kin folk and leans FOR Benson and the wifey who plainly tries desperately to be a social diva.
    I’d say maybe the media and most posters here need to stop and think for a change, instead of parroting what they’re hearing.

  20. PS
    Seems the judge in this case deems that Benson should be tested for mental capacity. I’m gonna laugh at the bums here when it’s discovered that Benson’s lost his marbles.

  21. One more thing:
    If Benson is mentally steady, why does he keep issueing “statements” via his lawyers?
    Hey Tom, let’s hear it from YOU and not from the mouth of your lawyer!
    Me thinks Benson is getting tippy and wifey wants to keep it under wraps.

  22. What Tom Benson (okay, his lawyer) is not saying is the nature of the action taken by the heirs that triggered his December letter to them notifying them that he was cutting them off.

    Rita, his grand daughter, was being groomed to take over but he suspended her for a few months in 2013 or so but the reason has not been made public.

    Rita has gone through at least 30 assistants in a five year span and has alienated the Saints front office to the point where Payton tried to have an out clause in his contract were GM Loomis to be fired (by Rita).

    She was frequently not in her office and dragged her feet on the simplest of duties.

    I hope the league is taking notes on this. Do they really think another entitled heir owner (Like York over there on the west coast) is good for the league?

  23. Ho about selling the team too Saints fans. I am up for owning a few shares of Who Dat stock.

  24. I don’t know anything about this family, but it’s hard to side with anyone here. Sure the kids are probably entitled brats, but at the same time, it’s hard to side with a wife who swoops in and takes everything. Tough deal all around. People are so money hungry.

  25. This is really a sad but fascinating story. Think about it, Mr. B made it clear they would get taken care of in his previous statements. With this lawsuit, does that now go away? If your one of the spoiled brats, do you roll the dice with this lawsuit knowing you may lose AND you may get cut out of the any future allocations.

    It’s not a question of enough, pal. It’s a zero sum game, somebody wins, somebody loses. Money itself isn’t lost or made, it’s simply transferred from one perception to another.
    -Gordon Gekko

  26. How is it rightfully theirs if the person whose it actually is is saying it isn’t theirs?

    Because he put the teams in a trust for the benefit of his daughter and grandchildren, and is now trying to pull them out of the trust. However, the trust mandates assets of equivalent value be added to swap out the assets already in the trust (ownership of the Saints and Pelicans).

    He tried to do some estate planning, then figured out he didn’t like those he was bequeathing his estate to and is now trying to undo what he had previously done.

    The teams belong to the trust and the daughter and grandchildren are the beneficiaries of the trust, so they do seem to have a pretty strong claim on the eventual ownership of the teams, unless Benson can provide equivalent assets to swap into the trust.

    I guess the moral is, be careful when trying to avoid the taxman or you might just leave everything to people you later can’t stand.

  27. I’m not a Saints fan but I’m completely in Mr. Benson’s corner and wish him the best in this farce of a ‘case’ by those ingrates. Considering the state my own team has been in the last dozen years, I can also relate to Saints fans who suffered when the owner was named Mecom and not Benson and who don’t want to go back to that kind of chaos.

  28. People are taking Tom’s side in this story?

    Do some research, dude’s wife is manipulative and has driven the wedge between the guy and his kids.

    It’s like that Two Towers movie with Stephen Dorff’s character messing with that King.

  29. In Teddy We Trust says:
    Feb 10, 2015 4:45 PM
    Imagine how many times this same story is playing out in Wisconsin, as hundreds of Packer owners are probably dying every year, most likely of liver disease. Families torn apart as they argue over who is the rightful owner of that valuable Packer stock.
    —————————
    ugh… another comment about the Packers?
    Talk about obsessed.

  30. They were born into a life of luxury and privilege only because of him, then at the end of his life they have the nerve to treat him this way.

  31. Just read up on this…it’s his 3rd wife and they only been married these last 10 years…the one angry and filing lawsuits is his only living child. He just made these changes and is 87. The child Rita has had an active role with the team. Finally, the woman he married at 77 who is getting everything is his 3rd wife. Something stinks here but all that said its his assets and he can do what he wants, provided he is still himself…

  32. Gayle has made it on her own before she married Benson. She is a smart businesswoman. She would be able to run the team better than Rita, who has shown many times to be incapable of running a burger joint let alone a professional sports franchise. Benson knows that Rita will either sell the team or try to move them. Louisiana doesn’t have a forced inheritance so you can cut anyone out of your will. He stated plenty of times that all of his family will be taken care of.

  33. I get a kick out of how Gayle keeps quiet throughout this ordeal. Not even a “Who, little ol’ me?” It’s time for her to get into the game. It’s possible she can inherit the Saints, but not by staying mum.

  34. Gayle Benson, Tom’s 3rd wife since his two previous wives passed away, is NOT getting everything. Prior to marrying her, Tom Benson had her sign a pre-nup.

    Tom would like Gayle to take control of the the Saints and Pelicans. The rest of his vast fortune has mostly been put into two trusts for his heirs.

    Benson would rather the teams be overseen by Gayle. He’s seen enough flighty-ness from his daughter and her children to be convinced that they would not be able to provide stability for the teams.

    That is what this whole thing is about. Who gets the teams.

  35. “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,” Benson said in a statement. “The very businesses from which those that have brought these lawsuits have benefitted.”

    Even money says he didn’t either state or write that.

  36. The Benson press releases seem suspicious. Split the baby, give children and wife equal parts in the franchises then have them sold when ownership transfers. Done.

  37. Not a necessarily a Saints fan Mr. Benson, but I hope and pray you prevail in this ‘Family Feud’ Strange how family can turn against each other when money is involved. I am glad to hear that Roger Goodell came out in your corner.

  38. Hes fine mentally. Once he proves that to the docs, he needs to get right busy cutting these fools share of his fortune down to 100k.

    In any event theyll sue for more once he dies…maybe he should just have them taken care of. Bill, call me.

  39. Tom Benson, it is your own fault for raising spoiled, entitled children. You should have spent a little more time with them rather than building your assets.

  40. Ugly affair but hard to know what exactly is going on without knowing the details. I’ve seen family who were beyond greedy, literally counting the minutes for a parent to pass away and willing to destroy anybody to get a larger take. I’ve also seen people get re-married and act as if their kids and grandkids no longer exist. Which of those (or both) is going down here is anybody’s guess.

  41. Tom Benson and his first wife adopted 3 children and Renee is the only one still alive. Renee and the grandchildren all had positions with the team until Benson fired them and rewrote his will. Something happened that we may not be aware of, but one thing is for sure that they didn’t think he was incompetent until he changed his will. They’ll probably get some money, just not the 2 sports teams.

  42. The family was cruel to Mr Bs last wife and they are cruel to this wife. Maybe Mr B should be just as cruel and Expose RITAS Involvement In BOUNTYGATE It’s time!

  43. A lot of hate on these boards. How would you feel, if you gave up a regular career and you dad brought you to league meetings and even in his intro to other owners he said that the future is in there hands. Moreover, what if you had an office at the dome and were listed on the teams website as a director and all of a sudden; your card key doesn’t work and your office is gone and you are removed as a director. This whole thing is very, very sad.

    Now does is current wife have kids from a prior marriage (seems reasonable at her age), is it fair if her kids get the team when she dies???

  44. Even if it’s his wife that asked him to make the changes so what? It’s his WIFE and she has just as much right to his fortune and suggest anything to him.

  45. how do they have any legal standing? Seems to me they are trying to use the courts to steal his business. This is absolutely absurd, and will set a disturbing precedent.

  46. @ tcostant

    how is him giving his assets away to his wife not fair to his children? His children have no legal right to anything that is his. He has complete control and can give his fortune away to a stranger if he so feels inclined.

    It is absurd that you would even bring up the notion of fairness. His kids have no right to anything that he owns, unless he decides to give it to them.

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