Benson family power struggle laid bare in lawsuit over Saints owner’s mental competence _lowres

Associated Press photo by BILL HABER - New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson poses for a photo with his wife Gayle Benson and his granddaughter, Rita Benson LeBlanc, before an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings in New Orleans Sept. 21, 2014.

New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson remains the richest man in Louisiana, with a net worth of $1.6 billion that puts him at No. 386 on Forbes’ list of the 400 richest people in the United States.

Benson holds the same U.S. ranking as a year ago, when Forbes pegged his net worth at $1.3 billion.

In March, Forbes ranked Benson as 1,154th worldwide, with an estimated net worth of $1.5 billion.

Benson’s holdings include a 26-story office building named after him, New Orleans’ Fox television affiliate, auto dealerships and two professional sports franchises, the Saints and the NBA Pelicans, according to Forbes.

“The Saints are prospering as one of pro football’s more profitable teams despite their small market, thanks largely to a sweet stadium deal with the state that keeps the club in New Orleans until at least 2025,” the article says.

Benson and others paid $70 million for the team in 1985. He bought out his partners in 1993 in a deal that valued the team at $120 million. The team’s estimated value now: $1.1 billion.

The self-made billionaire acquired the NBA’s New Orleans Pelicans (formerly Hornets) in April 2012 for $338 million.

The five richest people in America on the Forbes list were former Microsoft CEO Bill Gates, $81 billion; Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffet, $67 billion; Oracle founder Larry Ellison, $50 billion; and Charles and David Koch, the CEO and executive vice president of Koch Industries, each worth $42 billion.

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