Tom Benson's ex-assistant claims Benson's wife racially discriminated against him

by
Sean Gardner / Reuters

New Orleans Saints and Pelicans owner Tom Benson is mired in controversy again, after his former assistant Rodney Henry alleged that Benson's wife, Gayle, racially discriminated against him before being fired.

Henry worked under Benson for 25 years, and filed a lawsuit against the Saints for overtime pay in November. The Saints, along with Tom and Gayle are listed as defendants. Gayle Benson was added to the lawsuit after Henry submitted an amended complaint that stated racial discrimination was a component.

"I hate that black son of a bitch and am going to get rid of him," Gayle allegedly said per Henry's complaint.

One of the main points of contention is in regards to Henry's salary. Henry was paid $50,000 per annum prior to being terminated but stated that he should've been listed as an employee eligible for overtime pay, as he worked between 14 to 16 hours per day.

Saints executive director of human resources Pat McKinney told Henry that his position would be terminated. However, Henry alleged in the lawsuit that "the real reason for Mr. Henry's termination was the unlawful discrimination, harassment and retaliation orchestrated by Mrs. Benson and carried out by the Saints."

Tom's health was reportedly in decline for the duration of the 2014 calendar year, and the Saints/Pelicans owner was involved in a nasty feud over the transferal of ownership after he dies. Originally, Tom's adopted daughter Renee Benson was listed as the heir apparent to both clubs, but the 88-year-old stated in January that he intends to make Gayle the owner of each team once he dies.

Tom was sued by Renee, and her two children, stating that the Saints/Pelicans owner was in a state of mental decline. Tom was later found to be mentally competent.

Henry allegedly took Tom to the doctor in August 2014, allegedly enraging Gayle. Per the lawsuit, Gayle allegedly asked Henry "Why did you take my husband to the hospital, you black son of a bitch?"

Tom is a magnet for controversy at this juncture, and it appears that he will spend many of his latter days in courtrooms.