The Louisiana Supreme Court denied Benson heirs petition on Monday.The heirs sought to appeal the decision from last summer by the state appeals court which upheld the competency hearing by a New Orleans civil court judge. For two years, the spurned heirs have sought to have New Orleans Saints and Pelicans owner Tom Benson (88) declared mentally incompetent.
This decision should bring an end to this part of the bitter family feud when Benson ousted his daughter and two grandchildren as successors to his Saints, Pelicans and GMB Stables empire. Benson replaced them with his third wife, Gayle, whom he married in 2004.
Benson’s daughter Renee Benson and grandchildren, Rita LeBlanc and Ryan LeBlanc, claimed the billionaire was in mental and physical decline and was being unduly influenced by Gayle and Saints officials.
The entire family legal battles aren’t over. There remains an ongoing case in a New Orleans federal court, where Benson is trying to remove non-voting ownership shares in both teams and replace them with assets of equal value. The trustees guarding the funds have rejected Benson’s swap of shares for promissory notes.
Tom and Gayle Benson’s growing sports empire includes two of Saturday’s Kentucky Derby contenders, Tom’s Ready and Mo Tom. They decided to get into the racing game by creating GMB Stables less than two years ago.