Tom Benson Settles Lawsuit With Estranged Heirs Over Ownership Stake In Saints, Pelicans
The long-running court battle between Saints and Pelicans Owner TOM BENSON and his heirs has "reached an end," as Benson "decided to settle the case, which was scheduled to go to trial" today, according to Greg LaRose of the New Orleans TIMES-PICAYUNE. The 89-year-old Benson had "sought to remove the ownership stakes of the teams from trusts" for RENEE and her children RITA and RYAN. The original structure of the trusts "kept controlling shares of both teams in Tom Benson's control, and the settlement doesn't change that." It has been "widely reported that these voting shares would be passed to Benson's wife, GAYLE." Benson's attorney, PHIL WITTMAN said that he "could not discuss the terms of his client's will." The case settled Friday was "expected to center around the value of the Saints and Pelicans shares Tom Benson was pulling out of the trusts." To determine that amount, the NFL and NBA "could have been compelled to provide financial details on the franchises, which Benson and both leagues wanted kept confidential." The two leagues late Thursday "filed motions with the federal court indicating they would ask the judge to seal any exhibits with 'commercially sensitive and otherwise confidential information'" (NOLA.com, 2/3). A trial was "bound to shed more light" on what kind of deal Benson's teams are getting to play in Mercedes-Benz Superdome and neighboring Smoothie King Center, as well as "details about their various revenue streams." Benson also was expected to be "compelled to testify" (ESPN.com, 2/3).