San Antonio judge delivers setback to Tom Benson

San Antonio judge delivers setback to Tom Benson

SAN ANTONIO (WVUE) - A Texas judge has dealt a setback to Tom Benson's lawyers in San Antonio. He has appointed two receivers to act as trustees over millions of dollars worth of bank and car dealership assets in San Antonio as the focus shifts back to New Orleans Tuesday.

In a courtroom in Texas, a probate judge has found that Benson is facing "tremendous pressures" in the family power struggle over his assets, and it's time for someone else to manage his affairs.

"He's appointing these two men as temporary trustees, or receivers," said FOX 8 legal analyst Joseph Raspanti.

Our partners at NOLA.com report those receivers are former San Antonio mayor Phil Hardberger, a man who threw out the welcome mat for the Saints after Katrina, and estate lawyer Art Bayern to manage Benson's sizable car dealership, and bank holdings.

"They're the guys who are supposed to calm the waters and make sure the bills are paid, while all the other matters are sorted out," said Raspanti.

The move was done over the objections of Benson attorney David Beck, who didn't think the purpose of the hearing was to appoint someone to temporarily replace Benson.

"I think Mr. Beck was correct in thinking that the hearing last week was to see if the TRO would be extended another 15 days, and I think it surprised him that he named these receivers to handle the trust,"said Raspanti.

Hardberger says he will first determine the assets of Benson's Texas empire, and he promised not to make any changes without approval from the court.

Benson's attorney says he will appeal Monday's decision.

Meantime, the stakes get higher as the attention shifts to a New Orleans court Tuesday. Here, judge Kern Reese is expected to hear new arguments that the lawsuit here be thrown out due to a lack of cause.

If not, the judge is expected to move forward with determining if Benson is competent to manage the affairs of his biggest assets - the New Orleans Saints and the Pelicans.

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