Benson court battle begins behind closed doors

Benson court battle begins behind closed doors

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - One of the richest men in Louisiana was in Orleans Civil Court Monday, with the future of his sports empire up for grabs. Tom Benson arrived at court just after lunch and proclaimed his competency.

This trial is the culmination of a series of events that began earlier this year when Benson signed over future ownership of the New Orleans Saints and Pelicans to his third wife, Gayle.

That move seemed to fly in the face of an irrevocable trust Benson had set up earlier which granted future ownership of the teams to his daughter, Renee, and her children, Rita and Ryan. The three were also present at the trial.

Benson said he hoped the court battle would quickly wrap up. Randy Smith, the attorney for the children, said his clients want the best for Benson, the city, the state and all of the stakeholders.

This trial began at 1 p.m. behind closed doors in Judge Kern Reese's court.

A last ditch effort to have the trial conducted in open court was rejected by the Louisiana Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. The trial could last two or three days.

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