5:54pm: The settlement still requires NFL approval, tweets CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora. That means at least 24 owners must sign off on it.
2:45pm: The Saints announced that a settlement has been reached in the dispute between owner Tom Benson and his estranged heirs. Terms of the settlement are confidential and therefore unknown at this time.
The agreement means that it will be “business as usual” for the Saints as well as other key Benson properties, including the NBA’s New Orleans Pelicans, a local television station, and a cluster of car dealerships. The settlement comes on the heels of a court decision in June which ruled that Benson, despite the protests of the heirs he was feuding with, is mentally competent and fit to run his businesses.
Years ago, the Saints owner designated granddaughter Rita Benson LeBlanc as his handpicked successor. Then, in January 2016, he announced that he decided to instead transfer ownership of the city’s two major pro sports franchises to his wife, Gayle, when he dies. Meanwhile, LeBlanc’s offices at the teams’ Metairie headquarters were vacated and her company-issued Mercedes-Benz and cell phone was seized. LeBlanc, who was less than thrilled by all of this, filed a lawsuit claiming Benson is mentally incompetent and being manipulated by his wife.
Now, the 88-year-old will presumably remain at the helm of his sports franchises and, down the line, they will be owned and operated by his current spouse.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.