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Tom Benson: A Billionaire's Journey Hardcover – Import, 7 Nov 2016

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From the Inside Flap

"It has to be a terrible burden for [Benson] to know that his heirs, who are going to profit so much from his efforts through the years, are that ungrateful. It's ingratitude at its highest."
--former Louisiana governor Edwin Edwards

"I used to joke that San Antonio can't afford Tom Benson."
--former Louisiana governor Kathleen Blanco

In a story pieced together from extensive document research and personal interviews, journalist Kathy Finn explores the life of Tom Benson, a plainspoken, tough-minded car dealer who leveraged his ownership of an NFL team to become a billionaire and has led a life of extraordinary highs and tragic lows.

In a dramatic telling of Benson's story, Finn shows how:

  • a car dealer named Mike Persia launched Benson into a wildly successful career, and how Benson years later refused to give Persia's grandson a similar leg up;
  • Benson used his extraordinary deal-making skills in negotiating rich lease terms for the state-owned Superdome, winning the NFL's admiration in the process;
  • the billionaire's third wife, Gayle, engineered a makeover of his public image after much of New Orleans had turned against him;
  • Benson's single-minded quest for wealth became his refuge from life's difficulties, but also may have rendered inevitable the late-life break with his family.

A Midwesterner who sank roots in New Orleans some thirty years ago, Kathy Finn is a veteran journalist who has covered business and general news throughout southeastern Louisiana. As the editor of the weekly business newspaper New Orleans CityBusiness and, later, Biz New Orleans magazine, she wrote extensively about the local business community, including its impact on the growth of professional sports in the city. She is a longtime business columnist for New Orleans Magazine, has been a contributor to the daily newspaper the New Orleans Advocate, and has worked for some years as a freelance correspondent for Reuters America news service. A graduate of Grinnell College in Iowa, she lives in the Big Easy with her husband, Tom, and their beloved pets. She remains, as always, a devoted fan of the New Orleans Saints.

From the Back Cover

Tom Benson "created moments in NFL history that the city of New Orleans and football fans across the country will never forget."
--Roger Goodell, NFL commissioner

In 1985, when car-retailing mogul Tom Benson took a career turn to become an NFL team owner, he won praise for saving the New Orleans Saints, and again years later for leading the organization to its first Super Bowl. Along the way he drew rabid criticism, especially with his defection to San Antonio after Hurricane Katrina. Benson again made headlines in 2015 when he abruptly cut ties with heirs who stood to inherit his billions and, in response, they sought to have the eighty-seven-year-old declared mentally incompetent.

Through research encompassing hundreds of court records and news articles, along with dozens of interviews with Benson family members, friends, and associates, business journalist Kathy Finn reveals the individual behind the drama. She shows Benson to be a family man devoted to his Catholic faith, and a shrewd businessman imbued with a streak of ruthlessness that an acquaintance says enabled him to be "astonishingly generous and then astonishingly hateful."

Tom Benson: A Billionaire's Journey unearths the intricate details of Benson's personal life, including three marriages, the loss of two children, and a relentless pursuit of wealth that buoyed him through the heartbreaks.

Through many years of covering business news in New Orleans, journalist Kathy Finn had a close view of the local growth of professional sports and Tom Benson's rising profile as the owner of the city's NFL team. A longtime Saints fan, she brings a unique insight into the public and private life of billionaire Benson.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Pelican Publishing Co (7 November 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 145562232X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1455622320
  • Product Dimensions: 15.9 x 3.2 x 23.5 cm
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4.0 out of 5 starsGreat book and very good reading
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5.0 out of 5 starsGreat book!
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5.0 out of 5 starsWell done
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5.0 out of 5 starsThe good journalist that she is
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