Thursday, June 21, 2018
Sports

Owner Benson: Daughter, grandkids 'tried to kill me'

NEW ORLEANS — In a court deposition, Tom Benson said he ousted his daughter and grandchildren from executive positions in the Saints and Pelicans after a confrontation turned physical between his daughter Renee, and his wife, Gayle.

The deposition, filed in federal court in New Orleans this week, was taken in late March. It's part of a federal lawsuit over Benson's decision to remove his family members' shares in his NFL and NBA franchises from a trust and substitute other assets.

Benson, 88, said in the deposition that his daughter and two grandchildren "tried to kill me" by picking on his wife and behaving hostile.

Randy Smith, an attorney for Renee and her children, Ryan and Rita LeBlanc, strongly denied the accusations: "It's sad that he would think that, that somehow that would be in his memory because it didn't happen, just like his family did not try to kill him," Smith said.

Benson said the hostility included a 2014 confrontation in his Superdome suite when Renee allegedly shook Gayle.

Smith said Renee was not at the game Benson referenced. "Everyone knows that except apparently Mr. Benson," Smith said.

In January 2015, Benson fired Renee and her children from executive positions with the teams. He announced a decision to make Gayle sole heir to the NFL and NBA clubs.

According to the deposition transcript, lawyers asked Benson why he wanted to do so. His answer: "Well, they tried to kill me for one thing."

Question: "Okay. How so?"

Answer: "Well you know, by picking on my wife and when I wasn't feel (sic) very good, they were very hostile."

Question: "Okay."

Answer: "As a matter of fact, I cut them off from everything. I don't have them to Saints games or Pelicans or nothing."

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