Benson changes succession plans for Saints and Pelicans
Posted on 1/22/2015 10:49:00 AM.
Saints and Pelicans owner Tom Benson announces ownership of both teams will transfer to his wife, Gayle, upon his death.  This move effectively cuts out Benson's daughter, Renee, and grandchildren, Ryan Leblanc and Rita Benson Leblanc, from the sports franchises.  

The voice of the Saints, Jim Henderson, says this had to be an agonizing decision for Benson to make.
"This is something that comes at the expense of your daughter, your granddaughter, your grandson, and the people that are part of their families, as well.  This is a rough one."

Benson stated that this change in succession is necessary for the long-term success of both teams.  There are reports that there was tension at team headquarters with Renee, Rita, and Ryan.  Henderson says if you looked closely, you could observe the strain.

"Tom Benson was always flanked by Gail on one side and Rita on the other.  And I think they more than on one occasion, butted heads in probably vying for his affection and support."

Henderson says this is a very bold move on Benson's part.  It was expected that Rita would succeed her grandfather in leading the sports empire.  He says Rita was suspended a couple of years ago for lack of attention to the job and that could have weighed on Benson enough to make this change.

"Maybe he didn't see, and didn't in the past see, in Rita, I think, some of the commitment that he felt everybody in the organization, granddaughter or not, should have."   
New Orleans Saints, Tom Benson, Jim Henderson, Rita Benson Leblanc

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