Bensons could opt for mediation to avoid public fight

Published: Jan. 24, 2015 at 2:22 AM CST
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NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Some say it's possible that the power struggle in the Benson family might not lead to a long and public court fight if they choose private mediation.

The Bensons are the biggest name in local sports, but they aren't the first high-profile family to see their dirty laundry aired in public. The financial struggles of the Brennans - the biggest name in local restaurants - and the Kerns - the biggest name in Mardi Gras - have also gone public in recent years.

"I wish they would do it in house rather than fight it out in the courts," said Tran Van. "They are family, after all. They shouldn't have to go to a judge."

Fans worry about a negative image for the city and its professional sports teams, but there may be other options more suitable for a family that likes its privacy.

"It may go to mediation," said FOX 8 legal analyst Joe Raspanti. "The benefits are it's private and outside of the public eye. That may not be the wish of one or both of the parties - it could, but who knows."

Factions within Louisiana's wealthiest family are now lawyered up and ready to battle in court, but family squabbles are often settled through a mediation process that can be quick and secretive.

"A mediation is a separate animal in an office with a mediator who you pay to work out the issues with the party," Raspanti said.

The Bensons appear to be dysfunctional at this point, and therapists say it might be time for a house call.

"It's very sad, and troubling to see that," said family therapist Melinda Wilks. "You want everyone to get along - at least tolerate each other."

Wilks said the first step is to get all sides together in one room.

"It's pretty common, especially if there's a lot of money involved, especially with a stepparent that can bring in a lot of conflict," she said. "You can talk about the past, but the focus should be how do we move on from here?"

Many believe this battle has been brewing for some time, and all sides may be too dug-in to seek mediation or family counseling. But when the dust settles, the option is there if the Bensons decide they'd rather handle the matter in private.

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