GarbageTalk: A Family Feud – What’s Going To Happen To Benson’s Billions

As you may know, currently ongoing in San Antonio is a legal proceeding regarding Tom Benson, billionaire owner of the New Orleans Saints, regarding control over his many assets.  On one side you have Tom’s child Renee and her two children Rita and Ryan, who once played significant roles in the Saints’ organization.  On the other side is Tom’s third wife, Gayle and Tom himself.

If you read the filings, according to Tom’s kid and grandkids, Gayle is basically a power hungry gold digger who’s taking advantage of an old man whose mind is failing him and she wants the Saints and Tom’s fortune all to herself.  They allege that she feeds him candy, ice cream and wine, has cut off the $10,000 monthly checks Renee and her kids are supposed to receive from a trust, and has isolated Tom from them.  Despite the fact that most of Tom’s assets are in trusts designed to benefit Renee, Rita and Ryan when Tom dies, according to Renee, this probate proceeding is not about the money, but “all about Tom.”

To the unsophisticated reader of this drama, one might sympathize with his kin.  Logically, who would care more about dad/grandpa than his own blood?  Well, I can tell you that there are no uglier fights, especially when lots of money is involved, than those involving one’s own blood.  To wit, Benson’s kin are trying to get the judge to order a medical evaluation for Tom so that they can have him declared incompetent, or unable to make his own judgments.  Seems pretty harsh, don’t you think?  Renee, Rita and Ryan want control of the Saints and Tom’s assets so badly that rather than sit down with Gayle and Tom to hash things out, they would rather go to court, in full public view, and try to have Tom declared incompetent.

Now is Gayle innocent in all of this?  Probably not.  But I highly doubt she is the money-grubbing hag that Tom’s kin make her out to be.  More likely, when he married her in 2004, he spent time with her and less time with them, because he had just gotten married.  This likely created a rift in Tom’s relationship with Renee, Rita and Ryan, which became exacerbated over time leading Tom to fire Rita and Ryan from the Saints and change his succession plan to have Gayle take over instead.

Lest you think it was Gayle who was behind the firing of Rita and Ryan, it is clear that Tom is a cold-hearted businessman.  In 2005, Benson abruptly fired his executive vice president, Andrew Fielkow, because the two couldn’t agree on where to play their home games in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.  So family or not, if you don’t have Tom on your side, god speed.  And that, my friends, is exactly what happened here and shows why Tom is competent.  No one, not even his blood, is going to tell him what to do, or what’s best for the New Orleans Saints.  And he’s going to prove it one last time, before he kicks the bucket.

Who really wins here?  It’s the lawyers of course, ‘cause when Tom dies, Renee, Rita, Ryan will all still be rich and able to do whatever they want to do.  Of course they’ll have to live with the fact that they dragged Tom’s name and character through the dirt right before he died, but like father like daughter.  I’m sure she is cold-hearted and too proud to admit she messed up.

Anyway, I overheard two money managers talking about trusts and people with lots of money the other day and thought it was interesting.  So here you go, America:

MM 1: Dude, are you reading this Benson stuff?  It’s so salacious.

MM 2: Salacious?  No it’s not.  This is typical for rich folk. Daddy Warbucks gets old and you want to make the money grab before it’s too late.  Typical b.s.  I’ve got plenty of clients fighting over how much money each trust is going to get when daddy dies.

MM 1: Really?  What are they fighting about?

MM 2: $25,000.

MM 1: That’s a lot of money.

MM 2: Dude.  Each trust is funded with north of $350 million dollars.  And one kid says to me, “hey, my sister got dad to pay $25,000 towards beauty school for one of her kids, so I should get an extra $25,000 when he dies.”  Of course craziness ensues because then the sister gets upset and refuses to agree or sign any of the trust documents because she says that her brother went to college and she didn’t and dad paid for that, so they are even.  Then the brother starts talking about all of the drugs she did instead of going to school and how daddy had to pay for her rehab in Malibu and how much that cost.  The sister starts crying and says that her brother was always the favorite and on and on.  And all I can think of while this meeting is going on is Biggy’s song “Mo Money Mo Problems.”

MM 1: Seriously?  If I had $5 million, I’d be singing from on high.  What the hell is wrong with these kids?

MM 2: Like I said man.  Mo money, mo problems.  The Benson saga is an old one that repeats itself every day.

So there you go America.  Be thankful that you will most likely never win the lottery.

Back to Benson’s billions, I was really looking forward to the man himself testifying yesterday in probate court to put this nonsense to rest.  However, he decided not to and is headed back to NOLA.  Some might see it as a sign that he is not in fact competent.  Personally, I think the guy does not want to give his kin the satisfaction of him getting on the stand, taking an oath and testifying.  Today, the court temporarily named as co-receivers over a Benson family trust an estate lawyer Art Bayern and former San Antonio mayor, Phil Hardberger.  Their first task is to account for what’s in the trust and take a look at what Tom Benson’s been doing.  Their ultimate task is to protect and preserve the assets in the trust … of course minus whatever amount they charge as co-receivers.

Regarding Benson’s capacity, the San Antonio court said it is not going to rule on that, but will make decisions based on actions Benson has made as trustee.  So basically, if it becomes apparent that Benson is taking actions that hurt the assets in the trust, that a reasonable business man would not do, he’ll remove Benson as trustee, as Renee wants.  Still up in the air, however, is what becomes of Benson’s succession plan for the Saints.  Guess we’ll have to stay tuned to the proceedings in New Orleans for that one!

Cheers.

By John Kirkland

Disclaimer: GarbageTalkTM (this Column), is a news and football satire web publication. All articles contained within this Column are fiction, and contain presumably fake news. As such, any resemblance to the truth is purely coincidental. All characters and events referenced, even those based on real people, are entirely fictional. Any and all overheard conversations referenced herein have occurred solely in this author’s warped brain and are meant entirely for entertainment purposes.

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