Rita Benson LeBlanc out as Saints owner/ vice chairman
Rita Benson LeBlanc, the granddaughter of Saints owner Tom Benson, is not actively serving as the team's Vice Chairman of the Board, CBSSports.com's Jason La Canfora reports.
Rita Benson LeBlanc, granddaughter of Saintsowner Tom Benson and a member of the team’s ownership group, has cleaned out her office with the club and is not actively serving as the Saints Vice Chairman of the Board, according to numerous sources with knowledge of the situation. Benson LeBlanc has had a tumultuous relationship with her grandfather and with many key figures within the team’s hierarchy, and was suspended by Tom Benson for three months in 2012.
She is listed among the ownership roster in the team’s media guide, after only Tom Benson, and the team’s website describes her as “the second-highest ranking executive overseeing management alongside” her grandfather. Benson LeBlanc has led the team’s pursuit of hosting Super Bowls and her executive duties include overseeing the Saints sales, marketing and community affairs and she is one of the primary heirs to the team upon Benson’s passing. Benson LeBlanc has clashed with coach Sean Payton and general manager Mickey Loomis at times and her absence from around the team’s offices was noticed quickly.
A Saints spokesperson was contacted for comment on this story on Tuesday, and, after requesting additional time to prepare a statement on the matter on several occasions ultimately declined to comment on Wednesday night. It is unknown how long any discipline against her will last -- and several team sources noted that incidents like this have occurred previously with the sides eventually reuniting -- but NFL league officials are aware her absence from her usual Saints duties.
In the past Benson has talked about grooming Benson LeBlanc to take over the day-to-day operations of the Saints, but the succession plan for Benson has grown increasingly murky over the years. Things have come to a head again recently, sources said, and her future with the team could remain cloudy despite the fact her family will eventually assume control of the team. Benson LeBlanc has been one of the more public faces of Saints’ ownership in New Orleans.
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