UPDATED: In the protracted battle over who should control Sumner Redstone’s health care, one-time girlfriend Manuela Herzer has argued she rightly should have that responsibility and that she is motivated only out of her love for the 92-year-old media magnate.
But Redstone’s lawyers have argued for weeks that Herzer was motivated not by her love of Redstone but by her desire to cash in on his future estate. On Tuesday, a court filing with Redstone’s lawyers suggested how much was at stake: $50 million and ownership of his Beverly Park home, valued at another $20 million.
That’s how much Herzer, 52, stood to gain before October of last year, when Redstone ejected her from his home, removed her as his health care agent and directed that the home and $50 million go to his charitable foundation, according to the court filing.
The revelations come a week after Redstone’s daughter, Shari, stated in a declaration to a Los Angeles probate judge that her father’s well-being had improved markedly since Herzer was removed from his life. Shari Redstone said that Herzer had received “$70 million in cash/assets” from her father over the last six years and that her fight to be restored as his health care advocate was “causing my father tremendous stress and agitation.”
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge David J. Cowan is set to rule at the end of the month on a motion by Sumner Redstone’s lawyers to throw out Herzer’s attempt to be reinstalled as his health care agent. In their latest court papers, the billionaire’s lawyers belittled Herzer for asking that declarations from Redstone’s doctor and his daughter be disregarded. “Ms. Herzer claims ‘prejudice,’ but refuses to answer the obvious question: ‘To whom?'”
Herzer’s lawyer, Pierce O’Donnell, issued a statement Tuesday evening saying it was Shari Redstone, not his one-time girlfriend, who is preoccupied with finances in the dispute. “For Manuela, this case has never been about money,” O’Donnell said, adding that Herzer “seeks to protect her beloved friend from the manipulation and abuse by his caregivers and Shari Redstone.”
The change in the estate that Redstone completed in October will save “hundreds of millions of dollars in gift taxes” that would have been due from the Redstone family company, National Amusements Trust Inc., O’Donnell contended. “While Shari was an absentee daughter, Manuela was at Sumner’s side assuring that he had the very best health care,” he said.
Shari Redstone said in her declaration that the only reason she stayed away from her father previously is that Herzer and a live-in companion, Sydney Holland, had made it difficult for her and other family members to visit the Beverly Park home.
Though she has said through lawyers that she is not interested in Sumner Redstone’s riches, Herzer has never sworn off the possibility of pursuing a portion of the billionaire’s estate.
Redstone stepped aside last week as chairman of CBS and Viacom and was replaced by Leslie Moonves and Phillipe Dauman, respectively.