Tuesday January 27th, 2015

New Orleans Saints and Pelicans owner Tom Benson has responded to the lawsuit filed by his granddaughter Rita Benson LeBlanc and other members of her family, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune

The lawsuit came after Benson announced that his wife, Gayle, would assume ownership of the teams after his death. Benson's previous plan called for Benson LeBlanc to assume ownership of the Saints. Under his new plan, Benson LeBlanc, who was vice chairperson of the board for both teams, will not be involved in the future of either team.

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The suit claims that Benson is not competent to continue controlling and alleges he is is mentally and physically incapable of managing personal and business matters. Benson called the allegations "completely meritless" last week.

The response Benson filed on Tuesday stated that Benson's decision to give controlling interests to his wife was for good reason and was a "deliberate, reasoned, and difficult decision."

"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. "Unfortunately, the petitioners never rose to the task."

- Molly Geary

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