Tom Benson sues to remove Saints, Pelicans from family trust

Thursday March 12th, 2015

Tom Benson has filed a lawsuit to remove shares of the NFL's New Orleans Saints and the NBA's Pelicans from a trust set up for his daughter and grandchildren, The Times-Picayune’s Katherine Sayre and Andy Grimm report.

In January, Benson announced that his wife, Gayle, will succeed him as the owner of both teams, instead of a previous plan that had called for his granddaughter, Rita Benson LeBlanc, to assume ownership.

In February, members of his family sued the 87-year-old Benson, alleging he was not fit to make decisions for himself. A judge ruled that he undergo a psychiatric evaluation.

Benson's latest lawsuit wants to remove the $556 million of non-voting shares in the Saints and Pelicans in exchange for real estate, canceled debts worth $94.5 million and more than $450 million in promissory notes.

Benson's daughter and grandchildren responded to the lawsuit on Monday with a statement, The New York Times reports.

They said they are committed to “carrying on our father and grandfather’s legacy for future generations by continuing to support the city of New Orleans, the Saints, and the Pelicans, as we have consistently done in the past.”

The 87-year-old Benson had a pair of knee surgeries in the past year and now uses a wheelchair and walker to assist his mobility. Benson has repeatedly said he is healthy and that his wife, a New Orleans native, is the perfect successor.

The complete lawsuit can be viewed here.

- Paul Palladino

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