Saturday, January 23, 2016

Peace in our time

Rita and Gayle

Well, not fully. But the Bensons are halfway there.
Three days before Saints and Pelicans owner Tom Benson was scheduled to be privately questioned by his estranged daughter Renee’s attorneys, he and Renee reached a settlement Friday afternoon in their year-old battle over control of a family trust fund in Texas, according to an attorney in the case.

Terms of the settlement are confidential, said Bennett Stahl, a San Antonio attorney who represented Renee Benson in the dispute. But he said the agreement renders a scheduled Feb. 1 trial moot.
The trust fund dispute is separate from the controversy over the sports teams succession but getting this half settled at least suggests that the time of uncertainty is coming to an end.  At the same time, though, it suggests that Team Rita-Renee might have a stronger hand than people are giving them credit for.  Look how they bullied their way into this settlement. 
Friday’s settlement came a little more than a month after Benson offered to resign as the trust’s steward as long as a neutral party was appointed to that role. It also came after Hardberger and Bayern issued a report to Rickhoff saying they did not believe the trust owed Benson any money.

Rickhoff had recently ordered Tom Benson to face questioning by Renee Benson’s attorneys in San Antonio. The questioning originally was supposed to have started by Thursday of this week, but that was postponed to Monday.

Friday’s agreement makes Monday’s deposition unnecessary.

Benson’s side objected to his being questioned by his daughter’s attorneys, and mediation talks didn’t begin until shortly before Rickhoff handed down his order.
Even though a judge has already determined that Benson is "mentally competent" to run his affairs, he doesn't actually want to have to put that... um.. competence on display during court proceedings.  As long as Team Rita can threaten to make that happen, they've got a fighting chance.

Meanwhile, for those of you still looking to take down Bronze Tom, you may now direct your lobbying efforts toward Former Governor Meemaw.  

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