Tom Benson Rumors
A federal judge Tuesday (Aug. 30) pushed back a trial in Saints and Pelicans owner Tom Benson’s team ownership fight to February. In the meantime, lawyers in the case have until Oct. 28 to question representatives of the National Football League and the National Basketball Association in depositions, U.S. District Judge Jane Triche Milazzo ordered. Benson, 89, is suing to remove ownership shares in the Saints and Pelicans out of trust funds created for his daughter, Renee Benson, and grandchildren Rita and Ryan LeBlanc.
Benson has authority to remove assets from the trusts in exchange for assets of equal value. The trustees blocked Benson’s attempt to remove the team shares in exchange for promissory notes, arguing the deal wasn’t good enough. If the case does go to trial, testimony and evidence is expected to make public details of internal NFL and NBA financial information, the financial performance of the Saints and Pelicans, and Benson’s personal fortune. It wasn’t immediately clear who would represent the NFL and the NBA in depositions.
New Orleans Saints and Pelicans owner Tom Benson alleged family members “tried to kill” him in a deposition made public this week. Benson, who has been engaged in a legal fight over who will inherit the sports franchises, detailed why he decided to cut his daughter Renee, along with grandchildren Ryan and Rita LeBlanc, out of any ownership stake with the teams. “Well, they tried to kill me for one thing.” the 88-year-old billionaire businessman said in the deposition on March 28. “I found out they didn’t love me very much, trying to stab me in the back, wanted to take over everything, brought me to court saying I was crazy. You don’t need any more than that.”
Benson said it was after a verbal confrontation between his wife and Renee — one that Benson alleged likely took place after the suite incident — that he decided to change who inherited what. “As a matter of fact, I cut them off from everything,” Benson said. “I don’t have them to Saints games or Pelicans or nothing.”
Other NBA owners on the list include the Brooklyn Nets’ Mikhail Prokhorov ($7.6B), Miami Heat owner Micky Arison ($7.1B), New York Knicks owner Charles Dolan ($5B), Dan Gilbert of the Cleveland Cavaliers ($4.9B), Orlando Magic owner Rich DeVos ($4.7B), Tom Gores from the Detroit Pistons ($3.3B), Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban ($3.3B), Indiana Pacers owner Herb Simon ($2.8B), New Orleans Pelicans owner Tom Benson ($2.2B), Memphis Grizzlies owner Robert Pera ($2B), Glen Taylor from the Minnesota Timberwolves ($1.8B), Milwaukee Bucks owner Marc Lasry ($1.7B), Houston Rockets owner Les Alexander ($1.5B), Utah Jazz owner Gail Miller ($1.4B), Chicago Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf ($1.3B), former Bulls player and Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan ($1.1B) and Atlanta Hawks owner Tony Ressler ($1.1B).
Saints GM Mickey Loomis has taken on a greater personnel role above GM Dell Demps, but rival execs understand that move is only temporary. “Mickey is a football guy, not a basketball guy,” one exec said. And at the D-League Showcase, the buzz was getting louder that it’s only a matter of time before former Pistons executive Joe Dumars — who has a close relationship with Saints and Pelicans owner Tom Benson — returns to his native Louisiana to assume control. That’s usually how it works. When someone is assuming control in the NBA, he usually has a mess on his hands.
Tom Benson: I will repeat today as I did yesterday to the reporter. I am not selling either team. That is not in my makeup. I am not retiring or stepping aside, while I do appreciate all of the sincere concern for my health. The legacy of both these teams are still yet to be written and my legacy can be discussed when I am long gone, which by the way is not that important to me right now. What is important to me is getting both our teams back to winning and challenging for championships. That is what our fans want most, and no one is more keenly aware of the urgency of that objective than me. We have had tremendous success both on and off the field and remain model franchises in both leagues, something I am very proud of. Another important part of our legacy is continuing to rebuild our city, our hospitals and our schools to make them leading institutions in this country. My wife Gayle and I do not take this for granted and cherish our ability to participate and contribute annually.