Benson attorney: Lawsuit is about control - not just money

Benson attorney: Lawsuit is about control - not just money

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - "This is a lawsuit that's been filed by people who want to control what Mr. Benson does with specific assets," says Phil Wittmann, an attorney for Tom Benson who calls the lawsuit against his client bogus.

He says claims by Benson's daughter and grandchildren that the Saints and Pelicans owner is incompetent and being manipulated by his wife are untrue. Since the lawsuit, there have been back-to-back motions filed in Civil District Court. The latest, filed by Benson's heirs, is requesting the judge to order Benson to undergo a physical and mental examination.

It even names a specific geriatric psychiatrist they want to perform the exam - Dr. Ted Bloch III.

Wittmann says the plaintiff's motion is premature since he filed one just 24 hours earlier.

"They haven't alleged any specific infirmity that Mr. Benson suffers from or has caused him to have any problems with his life," Wittmann said.

He's hoping the judge will simply dismiss the suit.

"These plaintiffs, these three, they're going to get $400 million at the end of the day, but they're not happy with that," Wittman said. "They want to control what assets control that $400 million, and that's just not right."

He says Benson's decision to give the teams to his wife, Gayle, came after a lot of consideration, and even meetings with his staff.

"People he trusts in his business operations, they concluded that Gayle was better suited to run the organization than Rita, Rene and Ryan," Wittmann said.

Wittman said for now, Tom Benson is very much running the daily operations of both teams, and nothing has changed.

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