The three doctors who evaluated the mental competency of Saints and Pelicans owner Tom Benson as part of a lawsuit filed against him by his estranged relatives have turned in their reports to a New Orleans judge presiding over the dispute.
Civil District Court Judge Kern Reese received all three reports late Wednesday and scheduled the next hearing in the case for June 1, court spokesman Walt Pierce said.
Reese had already ruled that all information pertaining to Benson’s mental evaluation would be kept under seal to protect his privacy.
The judge ordered Benson to undergo an examination in February. A trio of doctors completed their evaluations on March 13 and spent 19 days writing their reports on Benson’s condition.
The Benson family rift became headline news after the 87-year-old patriarch announced he wanted to bar his daughter, Renee Benson, and her children, Ryan and Rita LeBlanc, from any future role with his sports franchises and other businesses. The twice-widowed Benson has instead decided that his third wife, Gayle, will take over all of his properties in Louisiana and Texas when he dies.
Part of the response from Renee, Rita and Ryan was to file a lawsuit in Civil District Court seeking to have Benson declared mentally unfit to make such drastic business decisions.
The legal wrangling has since spurred various other actions in state and federal courtrooms in New Orleans and San Antonio, all of which remain pending.
In one lawsuit, Benson is appealing the decision of a Texas judge who temporarily suspended him as head of a trust set up for Renee’s benefit.
In another, Benson is asking a federal judge in New Orleans to let him remove business assets from other trusts benefiting Renee and her children, which are separate from the one in Texas and contain nonvoting ownership shares in the Saints and Pelicans. By law, Benson can do that only if he replaces them with assets that are just as valuable.
The steward of that trust, Robert Rosenthal, rejected Benson’s initial swap proposal, saying Benson had not provided an updated valuation for the assets involved.
Now, Benson is suing Rosenthal in federal court in New Orleans, as well.