weather icon Partly Cloudy
RJ App
Vegas News, Alerts, ePaper

New Orleans Saints, Pelicans owner ordered to undergo physical, mental exams

A Civil District Judge in New Orleans ruled Tuesday that Saints and Pelicans owner Tom Benson must undergo physical and mental exams in response to a lawsuit filed by his daughter challenging the mental competency of the 87-year-old.

Benson is facing a the lawsuit from daughter Renee LeBlanc, granddaughter Rita and grandson Ryan, who were removed as heirs last month when Benson decided to alter his succession plan for the pro sports franchises to place his wife, Gayle Benson, in control.

During the trial, the trust is not in Benson’s control.

The billionaire has had recent health problems, including in public appearances at NFL league gatherings.

Relatives are seeking to have him ruled mentally unfit to oversee his fortune and New Orleans’ two professional sports franchises.

The lawsuit was filed after Benson made it known publicly that Rita LeBlanc was no longer working for the teams and his succession plan appointed his third wife, Gayle, after “careful and deliberate” consideration.

Benson said poor treatment of his current wife contributed to the removal of his grandchildren from the estate plan.

“While I am extremely disappointed in these lawsuits filed by Renee, Rita and Ryan against me in Texas and Louisiana that have challenged my competency and my ability to manage my own assets, I must state right now that it has only strengthened my resolve to defend what I have built over the last fifty plus years,” Benson said in a statement. “The very businesses from which those that have brought these lawsuits have benefited.

“I have instructed my attorneys to spare no effort in defending my rights and the decisions I have made. The decisions I have made are well within my rights to make at any point in my life, and rest assured that I am making sound decisions. I need not look any further than to read the allegations made against me in these multiple lawsuits to rest easy that I have made the correct decisions.

“As I stated on Jan. 22, the decisions I am making now will benefit the long-term success, stability and continuity of the New Orleans Saints, Pelicans and all of the businesses I have built. With stability and continuity comes success and with success comes great things for our community, our city, our state and most importantly, our fans.

“In addition, I have instructed my attorney, Phil Wittmann, to bring forth this medical exam of me as soon as possible. I look forward to taking this test. I respect the Honorable Kern Reese’ decision today, as I know he had a tough decision to make, but I look forward to putting this behind us and moving on.”

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said during his state of the league press conference that he considers Benson stable and fit to run the Saints.

Benson’s all-star legal team argued that a psychiatric evaluation is unncessary and intrusive.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Sports on TV in Las Vegas

Here’s today’s local and national sports schedule, including television and radio listings.