The Louisiana 4th Circuit of Appeals has upheld Orleans Parish Judge Kern Reese’ ruling deeming Saints and Pelican owner Tom Benson mentally competent when he ousted relatives from ownership positions with the Saints and Pelicans and appointed his third wife as his primary successor.

The 4th Circuit Court of Appeal finds no fault with Orleans Parish Judge Kern Reese’s decision to block the attorney for Benson’s estranged daughter and her children from cross-examining their 88-year-old patriarch during the closed trial last June.  Judge Reese ruled that he found Benson competent after interviewing him in chambers.

Randall A. Smith, the attorney for the estranged heirs, Renee Benson and her children, Rita and Ryan Leblanc, says his clients are considering filing an appeal to the Louisiana Supreme Court.

Appeals Court Upholds Ruling Deeming Saints Owner Tom Benson Mentally Competent


Statement from Tom Benson on the 4th Circuit Court of Appeal ruling:

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.  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.

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.