Sumner Redstone’s one-time girlfriend renewed her attack on the billionaire corporate titan’s daughter in a new legal filing Thursday, accusing Shari Redstone of a “campaign of harrasment, lies and deceit” to try to exclude her from Redstone’s life.
Manuela Herzer’s declaration is her latest attempt to keep alive her bid in a Los Angeles probate court to regain access to Redstone’s life, and decisions over his health care, after being ejected from his Beverly Park mansion last October. Sumner Redstone recently stepped down as chairman of both CBS and Viacom, the conglomerates he has controlled for years.
“Shari Redstone is not going to dignify today’s baseless and mean-spirited attack on the Redstone family with any comment,” responded her spokesperson.
Herzer’s attack follows a previous filing in which Shari Redstone claimed the opposite — that it was the one-time girlfriend and live-in companion of her father who was deceitful and manipulative. The younger Redstone, a major shareholder in her father’s businesses, said that Herzer and another Redstone companion, Sydney Holland, had used undue influence over the billionaire to keep his children and grandchildren out of his life.
The judge overseeing the case has previously suggested that he saw no need for immediate intervention to protect Redstone, 92, and in frail health. The judge noted that the corporate chieftain appeared to be receiving excellent medical care. He also noted that, though Herzer had been removed from his life, Redstone had an able health care agent in the event he becomes incapacitated — Viacom CEO Phillipe Dauman.A hearing has been set for February 29 on a motion to throw out Herzer’s challenge.
Herzer’s latest salvo adamantly rejects the contention that she manipulated Sumner Redstone and had designs on his estate. “Anyone who knows Sumner knows that while he had sound mental capacity, no one could tell this strong-willed, proud man what to do, say or think,” Herzer declared in a statement given Feb. 17. Herzer contended that she was being blamed when “the Redstone’s family feuds have been going on for decades — both publicly and priavely.” She added: “Shari’s attempt to blame me or anyone else is another lie and manipulation.”
Shari Redstone’s previous declaration contended that Herzer had already received $70 million and the right to her father’s Beverly Park home, before his estate plan was altered. Her lawyers accused Herzer of being motivated by her desire to cash in on Redstone’s estate.
Herzer said that Shari and her adult children “had made it perfectly clear that they wanted Sydney and me out of Sumner’s life in order to prevent him from giving us any gifts or bequests of money.”
As further proof of how much Redstone trusted her, Herzer also presented a 2015 “Funeral and Burial Instructions,” in which Herzer and Holland were given “authority to direct the disposition of my remains.” The three-page plan goes into some detail about the service, naming pallbearers for his “simple pine box” casket, including relatives and the two CEOs of his companies, Dauman and CBS’s Les Moonves. It calls for a traditional Jewish funeral, with music by Tony Bennett and a rendition of Frank Sinatra’s “I Did It My Way.”