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Saints owner Benson has competency ruling upheld

A judge’s decision that New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson is mentally competent was upheld by an appeals court on Wednesday.

A judge’s decision that New Orleans Saints and Pelicans owner Tom Benson is mentally competent was upheld Wednesday by a Louisiana appeals court.

Benson, 88, has been at the center of a family dispute over who calls the shots within the Saints organization and over his affairs at large. His daughter, Renee Benson, and two grandchildren challenged the original decision, made in June, that Benson is competent enough to make decisions for himself.

According to the Times-Picayune, Benson did not take the stand during an eight-day 2015 trial that examined his mental health. His daughter and grandchildren, Rita and Ryan LeBlanc, have sought control over Benson’s teams, business assets and fortune, arguing that he has been in mental decline and makes decisions under the influence of his wife, Gayle.

“I am grateful that the 4th Circuit Court of Appeal has affirmed the ruling that was handed down in the Civil District Court by Judge Kern Reese in this case where my daughter and two grandchildren attempted to have me interdicted,” Benson said in a statement. “This continues to be a very sad and trying time for me and my wife Gayle. I am hopeful that the 4th Circuit's Opinion today will end this litigation.

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“Last week, I signed the documents to settle the Shirley Benson Trust in Texas – a trust that I established, managed and successfully grew for the benefit of my daughter and grandchildren over many years.  That settlement had my complete consent and authorization as the assets in that trust were left to my daughter and grandchildren in my former wife's Will. I saw no further need to manage those assets for those who have demonstrated such ingratitude toward me over the course of the last year.

“I am hopeful one day soon that all of their ungratefulness will end and I can continue to enjoy my work with the Saints and Pelicans without further interference.”