Benson releases statement in response to judge's order - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports, Social

Benson releases statement in response to judge's order

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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) -

Judge Kern Reese ruled on Tuesday morning that Saints and Pelicans owner Tom Benson must undergo an examination. He called it a standard assessment.

Three exams will be performed on Benson by three different doctors. One examination will be completed by a doctor chosen by Benson's attorneys; one will be completed by a doctor of the plaintiff's choosing; and one will be completed by an independent doctor. The examinations must be completed by March 13.

Benson's daughter Renee Benson and grandchildren, Rita and Ryan LeBlanc, filed suit against the 87-year-old after he announced plans to turn future ownership of the Saints and Pelicans over to his wife Gayle upon his death. That suit claimed Benson was not competent in managing his own affairs.

"We're not doctors, neither are my clients,” said Randy Smith, Rita LeBlanc's attorney. “But they see a man who for his whole life loved them and was with them. They were a family, you know, Tom Benson lost his first two wives, Renee Benson lost her siblings and her mother and her second mother. These were her family. They were together all the time. Renee, Ryan and Rita all worked in the family business all their lives and all of a sudden they're torn apart from it."

Tom Benson's lawyers say he made a deliberate decision to leave control of the teams with Gayle Benson, his wife of 10 years.

“He's made a reasoned decision to exclude his daughter and his grandchildren from his life, he conveyed it to them clearly and consistently,” said Phil Wittmann, Tom Benson's attorney. “He's told that to everyone that's talked to him since December the 27. I don't think there's any question what Benson wants to do and what he's capable of doing it. You've seen him at basketball games, you've seen him in public, he's able to get around and gets along pretty well for a man 87-years-old and he intends to stick with his decision."

On Tuesday, Benson, through the Saints organization, released the following statement:

While I am extremely disappointed in these lawsuits filed by Renee (Benson), Rita (Leblanc) and Ryan LeBlanc against me in Texas and Louisiana that have challenged my competency and my ability to manage my own assets, I must state right now that it has only strengthened my resolve to defend what I have built over the last 50 plus years. The very businesses from which those that brought the lawsuit have benefited.

I have instructed my attorneys to spare no effort in defending my rights and the decisions I have made. The decisions I have made are well within my rights to make at any point in my life, and rest assured that I am making sound decisions. I need not look any further that to read the allegations made against me in these multiple lawsuits to rest easy that I have made the correct decisions. As I stated on January 22, the decisions I am making now will benefit the long term success, stability and continuity of the New Orleans Saints, Pelicans and all of the businesses I have built. With stability and continuity comes success and with success comes great things for our community, our city, our state and most importantly, our fans.

In addition, I have instructed my attorney Phil Wittmann to bring forth this medical exam of me as soon as possible. I look forward to taking this test. I respect the Honorable Kern Reese's decision today, as I know he had a tough decision to make, but I look forward to putting this behind me and moving on.

In a separate case in Texas, a judge on Monday appointed two men to oversee a Benson family trust, saying it was obvious Tom Benson was facing pressures.

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