WASHINGTON: Tom Benson, owner of the NFL New Orleans Saints and NBA New Orleans Pelicans, has accused his heirs of trying to kill him as a bitter family dispute grew nastier.
Court documents filed this week revealed part of Benson’s deposition transcript from last March and told he testified his accusation in a legal fight with daughter Renee Benson and grandchildren Rita LeBlanc and Ryan LeBlanc over his business empire.
The case’s outcome will determine the ownership fate of the Saints and Pelicans, with Benson, 88, trying to leave full ownership of the teams to his third wife, Gayle Benson.
Benson was asked in the deposition why he wants to leave “zero” in the family trust to his heirs.
“Well, they tried to kill me for one thing,” Benson testified. “By picking on my wife and when I wasn’t feel[ing]very good. They were very hostile. They attacked me, you got to know. That’s why I don’t want to leave them anything.
“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.”
In January of last year, Benson announced his plans to remove his daughter and two grandchildren from his business ventures. The heirs filed suit seeking Benson declared mentally incompetent. The lawsuit was rejected at the civil and state appeals levels and the Louisiana Supreme Court denied their pleas for additional appeals.