New Orleans Saints

Saints, Pelicans owner Tom Benson settles lawsuit, attorney says

FILE - In this Sept. 25, 2006 file photo, New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson dances with his wife Gayle Marie Benson after their football game with Atlanta Falcons at the newly re-opened Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans. The Saints won 23-3 The Superdome went from a candidate for demolition to a symbol of rebirth in the 13 months following Hurricane Katrina.
FILE - In this Sept. 25, 2006 file photo, New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson dances with his wife Gayle Marie Benson after their football game with Atlanta Falcons at the newly re-opened Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans. The Saints won 23-3 The Superdome went from a candidate for demolition to a symbol of rebirth in the 13 months following Hurricane Katrina. AP

Saints and Pelicans owner Tom Benson has finalized an agreement settling the federal lawsuit he filed almost two years ago against the officials overseeing a group of trust funds benefiting his estranged relatives, it was announced Friday.

Kyle Schonekas, who represents one of the trust officials, said the agreement's paperwork is in the process of being filed. A second source with knowledge of the case also confirmed that paperwork finalizing the agreement had been drawn up.

Terms weren't made available, but Friday's news resolves a dispute that largely centered on non-controlling, non-voting shares in New Orleans' NFL and NBA franchises.

It comes three days before the case was set to go to trial, a prospect that prompted attorneys for the NFL and the NBA to serve notice Thursday that the leagues wanted U.S. District Judge Jane Triche Milazzo of New Orleans to seal certain pieces of "commercially sensitive" evidence from public view. There was widespread speculation that evidence could shed light on exactly how much money NFL teams — among the most lucrative businesses in the world — are actually making.

The finalized agreement also arrives a few months after it was revealed in court records that the NFL would recommend that its clubs' owners allow Benson to borrow as much as 50 percent above the league's $250 million team debt limit to facilitate a settlement.

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