UPDATED with Shari Redstone statement: If at first you don’t succeed getting Sumner Redstone’s health care directive overturned and you don’t succeed again, roll out some backstage Viacom battles. That’s what Manuela Herzer did today in the ongoing fight over who is really supposed to take care of the now-retired media mogul.
As her legal team filed an opposition to the Redstone team’s motion to dismiss [Read it here], Herzer filed her own declaration [Read it here] that portrays the matter as a smokescreen for a larger battle over the future of Viacom, and herself only seeking reunion with a man whom, she says, “considered my children and me to be family.”
“The rosy picture painted by Shari of her supposed reconciliation with her father is a smokescreen. Sumner has become a pawn in a highly-publicized battle for the Chairmanship of Viacom. Shari opposed Phillipe Dauman’s elevation to this position when Sumner supposedly resigned. She sought to persuade her father to join her in selecting someone else,” Herzer says. “Her sudden conversion to the loving, omni-present daughter coincides with this epic battle that was presaged by the notorious fights between Shari and Sumner over control of his media empire discussed above.
“In stark contrast to the situation before where Shari could visit her father if he wanted to see her, because of Sumner’s incompetence, I am now locked out of the house notwithstanding my long standing close relationship with him and repeated requests to see him… this is something that he would never tolerate when he was well,” Herzer continues. “I have personally pleaded with Phillippe Dauman, Leah Bishop, Gabrielle Vidal, Amy Koch, and Dr. Richard Gold to see Sumner, but to no avail. Dr. Gold told me that Sumner did not understand why I was gone.”
A spokesperson for Shari Redstone released the following statement on her behalf: “Shari Redstone is not going to dignify today’s baseless and mean-spirited attack on the Redstone family with any comment.”
Redstone resigned from his position as Executive Chairman at CBS on February 3, with Les Moonves tapped to replace him at the network. He resigned the next day as Executive Chairman of Viacom, where his daughter Shari opposes similar action. She has insisted that “whoever may succeed my father as Chair at each company should be someone who is not a Trustee of my father’s trust or otherwise intertwined in Redstone family matters, but rather a leader with an independent voice.”
Herzer’s declaration comes just over a week after a statement from Redstone’s legal team that Herzer’s litigation has ultimately been over money rather than health care. “This is a pre-death trust contest dressed up as a health care litigation,” Redstone’s lawyers said February 9. “Under the September 20, 2015 plan, Ms. Herzer would have received $50 million and Mr. Redstone’s Beverly Hills home, worthy roughly $20 million.”