HoopsHype Tom Benson rumors

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June 15, 2012 Updates

Two days after the NBA Board of Governors approved the sale of the New Orleans Hornets to Saints owner Tom Benson, Benson released a statement Friday expressing his elation at the finalization of the transaction and a hope for the same kind of success his football team has recently enjoyed. "I'm thrilled to have become the owner of the Hornets," Benson said in a statement released by the club. "There is a lot of excitement in the region about the franchise, especially after winning the No. 1 pick in the upcoming NBA draft. We have been successful with the Saints and I know we can translate that success to our NBA team as well. New Orleans Times-Picayune

June 13, 2012 Updates

The NBA Board of Governors on Wednesday approved the sale of the New Orleans Hornets to Tom Benson, the league announced. The sale will be officially closed later this week. The Hornets are expected to make an official announcement concerning Benson's take-over on Thursday. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal has signed off on the state's capital outlay bill, which included nearly $60 million for improvements to New Orleans Arena, as well as on the extension of the Quality Jobs Tax Credit, both elements which were critical in the agreement the state had with the Hornets to extend the lease in the Arena through 2024. New Orleans Times-Picayune

June 8, 2012 Updates
June 3, 2012 Updates

New Orleans Saints season-ticket holders got a chance on Sunday to select their seats for Hornets’ games at the New Orleans Arena. Although the Hornets did not release the total of how many current Saints’ ticket holders participated, there were a steady flow of fans throughout the two-hour session that was followed by another session that was open to the public. In April, Saints owner Tom Benson agreed to buy the Hornets for $338 million. New Orleans Times-Picayune

Richard J. Paddock, who said he’s been a Saints’ season-ticket holder for 40 years, attended Sunday’s event. ``I’m just happy we have Tom Benson as the owner of the Hornets,’’ said Paddock, a New Orleans native. ``It’s making me reconsider going back to a season-ticket holder again. I sat out last year, and I’ll probably be a full, season-ticket holder again. ``I believe with him (Benson) getting into the picture, he’s done good for New Orleans and for the Hornets, I just think he’s a standup guy.’’ New Orleans Times-Picayune

May 31, 2012 Updates

The source said as soon as the legislature passes the capital outlay bill with inclusion of funds for New Orleans Arena, the league will approve the sale to Benson for the price of $338 million. By law, the legislature must conclude its business for this session by 6 p.m. Monday. The NBA would likely then convene a conference call of its governors, possibly on Tuesday, to approve the Hornets' sale. Jindal's signature is the only requirement necessary to approve the Hornets' new lease with the state. It does not require legislative approval. New Orleans Times-Picayune

"It's such a joke that the league made the new owners be at the lottery for the show," one high-ranking team executive told Yahoo! Sports. "The league still owns the Hornets. Ask their front office if new owners can make a trade right now. They can't. This is a joke." Yahoo! Sports

The reaction of several league executives was part disgust, part resignation on Wednesday night. So many had predicted this happening, so many suspected that somehow, someway, the Hornets would walk away with Davis. Yahoo! Sports

May 30, 2012 Updates

Tom Benson: I am corresponding in hopes that your organization will strongly reconsider its recent decision to publish the Times-Picayune three days a week, rather than the customary tradition of a daily newspaper. New Orleans and its residents have long prided itself as being one of the most unique and culturally rich cities in the world and the host to millions of visitors each year. New Orleans and this region deserve a daily newspaper that covers news, culture, business, religion and everything else that makes New Orleans great. New Orleans Times-Picayune

May 20, 2012 Updates

Benson, who previously held the title of Saints owner and president, will serve as owner and chairman of the board. His granddaughter, Rita Benson LeBlanc, who has served as owner and executive vice president of the Saints since 2005, will now serve as vice-chairwoman of the board. LeBlanc's expanded role will include enhanced management responsibilities within Zelia LLC, which includes properties such as Benson Tower and Champions Square as well as various interests in the automotive, real estate and banking sectors and multimedia platforms, including Fox affiliate WVUE. "We've got a good team going, we really do," said Benson, who was surrounded as usual by his core management team of LeBlanc, Lauscha and Loomis as he sat down in his office Friday to discuss the new roles. New Orleans Times-Picayune

Tom Benson's business portfolio is bursting at the seams these days. He has expanded into television, film, real estate and now NBA basketball in the past four years. New Orleans Times-Picayune

Benson could not expand on his plans for the Hornets management structure, because he has not officially taken ownership of the team. But it's clear that (Dennis) Lauscha and Mickey Loomis, the Saints' executive vice president and general manager, will have major roles with the Hornets. Loomis will likely oversee basketball operations, with the Hornets' -general manager reporting to him. New Orleans Times-Picayune

May 15, 2012 Updates

The New Orleans Hornets will continue receiving a tax break that saves the NBA team $37 million over 10 years. The Senate sent the tax break bill to the governor's desk Monday with a 28-7 vote. The measure, supported by Gov. Bobby Jindal, is part of the state's deal to the keep the Hornets in Louisiana and a piece of the agreement with new team owner Tom Benson, who also owns the New Orleans Saints. Daily Comet

April 22, 2012 Updates

Amid the pomp and circumstance of Tom Benson's purchase of the New Orleans Hornets, one question remained unanswered. Where was Rita? Rita Benson LeBlanc, Saints owner and executive vice president, was nowhere to be found throughout the festivities. She wasn't at the news conference at NBA headquarters in New York to announce the sale. She was the lone Saints executive not in attendance at the Hornets' 85-73 win against Memphis last Sunday night. And she was conspicuously absent from the Saints' entourage at the official introductory news conference at New Orleans Arena last Monday. New Orleans Times-Picayune

The Saints declined to address LeBlanc's status or whereabouts, citing a policy regarding personnel matters. Multiple sources, however, say LeBlanc is serving some form of unofficial paid administrative leave, imposed by Benson. As the executive in charge of the club's sales, marketing and community affairs, LeBlanc's absence at major business events has raised eyebrows around town and in the pro sports industry. Word of her absence has spread in local business circles and reached Baton Rouge, where it's been the topic of discussion among state legislators. New Orleans Times-Picayune

Benson, according to sources, reached a breaking point near the end of the 2011 season and felt it was necessary to deliver a wake-up call to his 35-year-old granddaughter. No single incident led to the action, they said. Instead, Benson saw it as a pattern of behavior that needed to be corrected. LeBlanc's reported fall from grace raises questions about the future of the city's two major sports clubs. Benson will turn 85 in July. While he shows no signs of slowing down, he's said he'd eventually like to cede control to someone in the family. New Orleans Times-Picayune

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