Benson's family files lawsuit over change to succession plan
NEW ORLEANS - The battle for control over News Orleans' Saints and Pelicans ramped up Thursday as family members connected with Rita Benson LeBlanc filed a lawsuit that says owner Tom Benson is incompetent to run the franchises and is being manipulated by his wife and her allies to take the reins of the professional sports franchises.
Benson surprised and startled locals Wednesday with the announcement in which he changed the succession plan for the two New Orleans-based professional sports organizations, placing them under the control of his current wife Gayle.
"When family members are involved, decision are always tougher," said Benson. "My family, as they have been their whole lives, will be very well taken care of, however, this is about making the correct decision as it pertains specifically to the future of the Saints and Pelicans and their long-term success in the city of New Orleans, where they belong.".
The lawsuit, filed around noon on Thursday, claims that Benson is mentally and physically incapable of running his sports empire or even handling his own personal affairs. Other claims made in the suit say Benson's health is worse than the public is aware of and that Wednesday's announcement was fueled by his 67-year-old wife's attempt at a power grab through manipulation of the fragile Benson. It also requests Benson be examined by an unbiased geriatric psychiatrist to examine his overall mental capacity.
If the lawsuit is successful, Renee LeBlanc would be appointed as executor of Benson's sports and business interests, with Rita as second in command.
You can view the lawsuit in its entirety by clicking here.