Ousted Benson heirs appeal interdiction ruling
NEW ORLEANS - Tom Benson's ousted heirs have filed an appeal in the interdiction for control of their father's and grandfather's estate, according to attorney Randy Smith.
"Renee, Rita, and Ryan, having heard with their own ears and seen with their own eyes Tom Benson's mental decline, as well as the compelling evidence presented at trial from every single witness, believe that Tom Benson remains in the 'foggy state' described by the Court, and that the cognitive impairment acknowledged by the Court is worse and will only continue to worsen. Indeed, without the essential building block of memory that the Court references, decisions are susceptible to being made without factual basis or upon false information," said a statement from Smith, who represents daughter, Renee Benson, and his grandchildren, Rita LeBlanc and Ryan LeBlanc in the case.
Wednesday's appeal comes after a judge denied the heirs' petition for an interdiction of Benson's billion-dollar business empire which sprawls to include two professional sports franchises. The heirs have sought to have Tom Benson declared incompetent to stop him from removing shares of the Saints and Pelicans from trusts previously set up for them.
WWL-TV reported Benson was examined by three doctors during the court proceeding, and Orleans Parish Civil District Court Judge Kern Reese said the court found Benson able to make reasoned decisions for himself concerning his property. The heirs and attorney Smith disagree.
The heirs and their attorney assert that Benson remains in a 'foggy state' described in court and claim that cognitive impairment the heirs have witnessed first-hand will only continue to worsen, leading him to make questionable decisions based on false information or a non-factual basis.
Image: Katie Moore / WWL-TV