Sumner Redstone Asks|for Trustees’ Removal

     LOS ANGELES (CN) — Media mogul Sumner Redstone filed court papers Monday seeking to affirm the dismissal of two executives as heads of a trust controlling Redstone’s National Amusements, the holding company of CBS and Viacom.
     The 92-year-old businessman’s mental health has been thrown into the spotlight ever since his ex-girlfriend Manuela Herzer filed a probate complaint in Los Angeles County Superior Court last year challenging his competency.
     Redstone removed Philippe Dauman and George Abrams as trustees of the Sumner M. Redstone National Amusements last week.
     The two men then challenged their dismissal in a complaint filed in Massachusetts Monday, claiming that Redstone’s daughter Shari Redstone is fulfilling a “long denied” wish to wrest control of her father’s $42 million media empire.
     “This is a case in which an ailing 92-year-old man’s multibillion dollar businesses have been seized by an estranged daughter who has manipulated her father to achieve her goals,” the now-former trustees say in their 24-page complaint.
     Redstone sought to make the removal permanent in Los Angeles Superior Court on Monday, filing a four-page petition for an order confirming the validity of his action.
     As sole beneficiary of the trust, Redstone says he has the right to remove trustees unless a court rules that he is not competent based on the medical opinions of three doctors.
     In a statement issued on Monday, Redstone’s attorney Robert Klieger of firm Hueston Hennigan said neither Dauman nor Abrams had ever tried to challenge Redstone’s capacity until Redstone removed them from the trust last week.
     “Mr. Redstone is saddened that Mr. Dauman is trying to make this dispute about his daughter. This dispute is not about Shari Redstone. It is about Mr. Redstone’s right to have the individuals he wants and trusts managing his assets upon his death, and protecting the financial interests of his grandchildren,” Klieger said in a prepared statement. “It is telling that Mr. Dauman is raising the question of mental capacity for the first time after he’s been removed when, just months ago in court documents, he pronounced Mr. Redstone ‘engaged, attentive, and as opinionated as ever.'”
     The numerous court filings have gripped Hollywood and sent jitters through Wall Street.
     While Redstone’s attorneys maintain that the frail and ailing mogul is competent, Herzer and the two executives say the mogul is suffering from dementia.
     David Cowan cut short Herzer’s bench trial earlier this month after just one day of proceedings after Redstone confirmed in a video deposition that he had removed Herzer and that he wanted Shari to make his healthcare decisions.
     Court spectators and the media were ordered to leave the courtroom while the deposition was played to Cowan. The judge later said that he believed the video had dealt a mortal blow to Herzer’s claims and dismissed the case.
     Though Redstone has a severe speech impediment, a publicly released transcript also revealed several awkward exchanges between Redstone and Herzer’s attorney Pierce O’Donnell, and it appeared that Redstone was struggling to answer the attorney’s questions.
     O’Donnell said after Cowan dismissed the case that Redstone was “incoherent” and “not rational” during the deposition and that anyone who looked at the video would come to the conclusion that he is incapacitated.
     “I have to tell you, I was shaken when I left. It was very disturbing. It was also clear to me that he was coached and rehearsed,” O’Donnell said.
     Herzer responded to the judge’s order by filing a $70 million complaint against Shari, claiming she had been cheated out of a $50 million inheritance and Redstone’s Beverley Park mansion.
     The court in Los Angeles set an Oct. 18, 2016 hearing on Redstone’s petition.

%d bloggers like this: