Earlier we reported on Saints and Pelicans owner, Tom Benson, restructuring his ownership group, and transferring full control of both teams to his wife Gayle.
His family– mainly his two daughters– are crying foul on the switch. According to the Time-Picayune, relatives of Saints and Pelicans owner have filed a lawsuit opposing their ousters from ownership positions of the two New Orleans teams.
Benson’s daughter, Renee, and her two children allege in Thursday’s lawsuit that Tom Benson’s physical and mental health are failing and he is being manipulated by his wife of 10 years.
The suit was filed one day after Tom Benson unexpectedly announced plans to transfer future ownership of the clubs to wife, Gayle, cutting off his daughter, Renee LeBlanc, and his two grandchildren, Ryan LeBlanc and Rita Benson LeBlanc, who until recently had been designated as the heir apparent.
The legal battle lays bare the internal strife within one of Louisiana’s richest families and its highest profile business owners, pitting Benson and his wife of 10 years against his adopted daughter and her children.
According to the Suit, Gayle only feeds Mr. Benson things like ice-cream, wine, sodas and candy.
The suit attempts to paint Gayle Benson, 67, as a gold-digging opportunist who has taken advantage of her husband’s unfit state of health and ostracized family members in grasping for power and riches.
Before she met Tom Benson in 2004, Gayle Benson was in “significant debt and had limited credit.” It also questioned her business credentials, claiming she “never owned, operated, or managed a substantial business enterprise and has not received any formal training on how to do so.” It also claimed, she “had no interest in football, basketball, or in sports in general, before marrying Tom Benson.”
Benson’s diet has deteriorated to the point that he rarely consumes full meals and subsists mainly on “candy, ice cream, sodas and red wine.”
Benson’s mental acuity and memory have declined so much he “on at least one occasion (he) failed to recognize his daughter, Renee,” and “failed to remember or commemorate her birthday.” Further, on one occasion, he could not name the current president of the United States, guessing Ronald Reagan and Harry Truman upon prompting.