Ross Kelly, CBS Local Sports
The Tom Benson & Family ownership saga continued this past week as the Saints and Pelicans owner delivered over half-a-billion dollars in promissory notes to his heirs. These promissory notes are signed documents that promise to pay a stated sum to a specified person at a given date. In this case, that sum is $522 million and the specified parties are Benson’s daughter and two grandchildren. Those three individuals are the current parties who are set to inherit the Saints and Pelicans from Benson; however, Benson is seeking to transfer ownership from them and to his wife.
In January Benson tried to use $400 million in promissory notes in order to remove his heirs but a lawyer who oversees Benson’s heirs stakes blocked that attempt and argued that it wasn’t a fair trade. Benson re-appraised the value of the teams and settled on the $522 million total.
This past summer, Benson’s heirs attempted to have the 88-year-old declared incompetent to manage his own affairs after he announced he wanted to transfer ownership from them to his wife. A judge ruled that Benson was competent to remain in control of his estate but the heirs have appealed the judge’s findings.
Benson’s lawsuit against the trustees that hold his heirs’ stakes will go to trial on June 20, 2016, three weeks before his 89th birthday.