Civil District Judge Kern Reese is to hear arguments on whether he should order a physical and mental examination of Benson. But Benson was not always so sure his granddaughter would make it to the top. "She wasn't just a college kid. Her eyes are riveted to the field, then on the screen, then on the scoreboard. “He asked me to sit down with paper and pencil and sit in front of him and write some things that he was — that (were) on his mind that he wanted to get on paper, and that’s what I did,” she said. And there will always be questions about whether she is ready for it. She does the same. Associated Press file photo by GERALD HERBERT -- Tom Benson poses with wife Gayle Benson, and granddaughter, Rita Benson LeBlanc before the 49ers game with the Saints in November. Since then, she has collected all sorts of affectionate memories of the gatherings. The move, which seemed sudden to the public, kicked off a convoluted legal battle pitting Benson against his daughter and her children, who once had been in line to inherit everything but were now fired from their jobs with his businesses and cut off from the head of the family. She can also be resented, doubted, suspected and distrusted. The LeBlancs’ attorneys argued that the list poisoned Tom Benson against their clients. When she started going to the meetings, there were about five other women in the room. "That was not so. Rita Benson-LeBlanc, Tom Benson, Mayor Mitch Landrieu and Gayle Benson were on hand. So I started in -- it's kind of embarrassing now -- on Accounting 101: debits and credits, financial statements.". (Photo by Scott Threlkeld | The Times-Picayune archive), Framed by Voodoo coach Mike Neu's sweatshirt, Arena Football League commissioner David Baker, left, Tom Benson and New Orleans Voodoo future owner Rita LeBlanc conduct a tour of the team's new training facility Friday February 13, 2004. Benson’s attorneys, meanwhile, pointed to the recording as evidence of treachery. Disclosure: These are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, may earn a commission on purchases made via clicks on those links. The third psychiatrist was picked by the other two. He had a grimmer view of Benson’s memory problems than did the other two psychiatrists, one of whom was selected by Benson’s legal team. A day after his death, Benson’s camp filed it with Reese. "I always thought she'd grow up, get married and have babies, like her mother. And he announced, “I’m going to kick your ass,” according to the filings, although it’s not clear whom he was addressing. "I value the continuity, the family legacy. So far, LeBlanc has done neither marriage nor babies. The first time LeBlanc attended an NFL owners meeting was in the 1990s in Chicago. And we'll be prepared to help her any way we can.". He also was able to identify minute errors in reports from subordinates, Daniels recalled. Her grandfather has been grooming her. Eventually, she took over marketing, which had always been her niche. It was not subject to publication.". Hold on, Mr. Benson,” Reese said at one point. "She thinks she could take over today. She jumped in, asked a lot of questions, did everything, including the grunt work, like filing, in the very beginning. That psychiatrist, Ted Bloch, had been selected by his estranged relatives. "She sits on all these boards," he says. She makes it a point not to burn bridges, because the backlash can be harmful. "We all have the same salary cap. Rene Benson, Rita LeBlanc and Ryan LeBlanc later described Tom Benson as being mentally unfit to remove them as heirs so he could leave his fortune and sports empire to his wife. They're going to have to carry me out of here.". 23, 2005. She had lots of experience, a willingness to learn, and she wanted to be involved. ", "I enjoy what I'm doing," he says. (Photo by Michael DeMocker, | The Times-Picayune archive), Saints owner Tom Benson with his wife Gayle and granddaughter Rita Benson LeBlanc wave to fans before the football game between the New Orleans Saints and Detroit Lions at the Superdome Sunday, December 4, 2011 in New Orleans, La. "I can be social, but in the office, I like the pragmatic structural planning.". Judge Kern Reese prohibited attorneys from speaking about it, and a highly unusual, closed-door trial took place over eight days in June 2015. The feeling is entirely mutual: LeBlanc has a deep admiration for the NFL and its history of smooth operation. (Photo by Steven Forster | The Times-Picayune archive), Tom Benson with wife Gayle and grandaughter Rita Benson LeBlanc, right enter St. Cecilia to attend a ribbon cutting ceremony Thursday, May 26, 2005 at the new Shirley Landry Benson PACE elderly care center for which Benson donated $2 million. The LeBlancs’ attorneys argued that Benson’s comments were “bizarre outbursts,” and signs of something wrong. Mary Owen, who is vice president of the Buffalo Bills and LeBlanc's closest running buddy at the NFL owners' meetings, said LeBlanc carries more responsibility than any of the other young people at the table except Jed York, 28, the new president of the San Francisco 49ers. Both sides appeared to view the secret recording Rita made of her conversation with her grandfather on Dec. 19, 2014, as a notable piece of evidence. (Photo by Michael DeMocker, | The Times-Picayune archive), Dinner party for Mayor-elect Mitch Landrieu hosted by Ashton Phelps Jr. and The Times-Picayune at Antoine's Restaurant April 21, 2010. (Photo by Eliot Kamenitz, | The Times-Picayune archive), Gayle and Tom Benson and Rita Benson-LeBlanc with the Lombardi Trophy before the start of the game against the New Orleans Saint and Minnesota Vikings in the Louisiana Superdome Thursday September 9, 2010. Meanwhile, though the will as it stands leaves them with nothing more, it's not like daughter Renee Benson, granddaughter Rita LeBlanc and grandson Ryan LeBlanc were left with nothing. He does the same. (Photo by Matt Rose, | The Times-Picayune archive), Sunday December 28, 2003, New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson celebrates with his granddaughter and team executive Rita LeBlanc after the Saints 13-7 victory over the Dallas Cowboys in the Superdome. It was very refreshing.". In her early days on the Saints staff, fresh out of college, LeBlanc was assigned to work for a while with Lauscha, the team's chief financial officer, so she could get to know the financial end of the business. The New Orleans Saints vs. the San Francisco 49ers at the Superdome Sunday, Dec. 3, 2006. "I enjoy the planning and behind-the-scenes stuff," she says. LeBlanc is the daughter of Russell LeBlanc and Renee Benson, the daughter of Tom Benson, the principal owner of the New Orleans Saints and the New Orleans Pelicans. About 75 people report to her, from departments that include marketing, sales, legal, community relations, stadium operations and advertising. (Photo by Chuck Cook, | The Times-Picayune archive), Voodoo press conference that New Orleans will host the 2007 Arena Bowl, Monday December 4, 2006. "Truth of the matter is, she's been getting educated to take over her whole life. The New Orleans Saints vs. the San Francisco 49ers at the Superdome Sunday, Dec. 3, 2006. It was intended to be a temporary assignment, but it didn't work out that way. They said many of the items on the list were in Gayle’s words, not Tom’s, and they cited it as evidence that she was exerting undue influence on her frail husband. "That's the plan," says the (then) 82-year-old Benson, who had cancer surgery in December (2008). Facebook Twitter (Photo by John McCusker, | The Times-Picayune archive), Saints owner Tom Benson second-lines on the field with his granddaughter Rita Benson LeBlanc, left, and wife Gayle, right, after the team won the NFC Championship game between the New Orleans Saints and the Minnesota Vikings at the Louisiana Superdome Sunday, Jan. 24, 2010.