Deadline for Tom Benson's judge-ordered evaluation is Friday

Deadline for Tom Benson's judge-ordered evaluation is Friday

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The deadline for Tom Benson's judge-ordered mental evaluation is Friday.

Three doctors will decide if Benson is competent to control his empire. The physicians were ordered to evaluate Benson's mental capacity in February and hand over the reports on March 13. The evaluation is part of the lawsuit over the future of Benson's assets when he dies.

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

Three exams were performed on Benson by three different doctors. One examination was completed by a doctor chosen by Benson's attorneys; one was completed by a doctor of the plaintiff's choosing; and one was completed by an independent doctor.

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.

Dr. Howard Osofsky, the LSU Health Psychiatry chairman, said Benson will likely be asked about his family and what he knows about his wife, daughter and grandchildren. He said the idea is to simply determine if he can rationalize why recent changes were made, and his thought process behind those decisions.

According to the lawsuit filed by Rita Benson Leblanc, her mother and brother, "When Tom Benson was recently asked who the current president of the United States was, he replied Ronald Reagan was the president. After being told that Reagan was not the current president, Tom Benson's second guess was Harry Truman."

"Human beings - and probably old human beings even more so - may get a little confused," Osofsky said. "That doesn't mean they don't have the capacity to make decisions about their lives."

Osofsky says Benson will be answering a different set of questions during the interviews.

"If you found Mr. Benson as you interviewed him, that he didn't know who his children or grandchildren were, or didn't know who his wife is, didn't know he was the owner of the Saints or didn't know what he wants to do with his football team, that would be a different set of issues," he said.

The results of Tom Benson's mental health evaluation are due Friday, but will not be made public.

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