- Keryn Redstone asks probate judge to protect her `Grumpy'
- Redstone ex-girlfriend's suit challenges his mental competency
Sumner Redstone’s granddaughter Keryn sided with the billionaire’s ex-girlfriend in a court battle over his mental competency, describing family tensions and alleging her grandfather is being manipulated by those around him.
Keryn Redstone on Tuesday asked to join Manuela Herzer, who was evicted from Sumner Redstone’s mansion last year, in her bid to have the 92-year-old former Viacom Inc. and CBS Corp. chairman declared incompetent. Herzer is seeking to have herself reinstated as Redstone’s health-care agent.
"Please protect my Grumpy," Keryn Redstone, using the name she says she has always called her grandfather, said in a declaration filed in state court in Los Angeles.
Keryn Redstone, 34, is the daughter of Brent Redstone, the estranged son of Sumner Redstone. She said her grandfather has become a prisoner in his own home since Herzer was evicted in October. Sumner Redstone’s daughter Shari became his health-care agent this month, replacing Viacom Chief Executive Officer Philippe Dauman, who had been appointed in October after Herzer’s removal.
Keryn Redstone contrasted what she described as her closeness with her grandfather with his “tempestuous and difficult relationship” with her aunt. She recalled a “screaming match” between them at a birthday party when she was young.
“Shari’s loss of emotional control was frightening, and my sister and I hid during the fight,” Keryn Redstone said in the court filing. She said that on at least five occasions from 2005 to 2011, Shari Redstone told her, “I will get your dad, and I will get your grandfather, even if I have to hurt you to do it.”
Other family conflicts followed, including over medical treatment for Sumner Redstone, according to Keryn Redstone’s filing. While her grandfather was hospitalized in 2014, Keryn Redstone said she overheard her aunt push for a do-not-resuscitate order over his vehement objection.
“I am sad and disappointed that Keryn has chosen to align herself with Herzer against my father,” Shari Redstone said in a statement. “I will not dignify the absurdity of Keryn’s false claims with any further response.”
Sumner Redstone’s lawyers declined to comment on Tuesday’s filing.
The granddaughter’s request to join the probate case comes a little more than two weeks before the scheduled start of a trial over whether Redstone is mentally incompetent. His lawyers have said Herzer’s ulterior motive in seeking to have him declared incompetent is to fight her removal from his will. She was to inherit $50 million and his $20-million estate before she was taken out of his estate plan in October.
The dispute has already exposed infighting among those closest to Redstone and could impact the ailing media mogul’s control over Viacom and CBS. He remains the controlling shareholder of both. If Redstone becomes mentally incapacitated, a family trust that includes Dauman and Shari Redstone has been designated to take over his holdings.
A preliminary out-of-court settlement hit a "snag" last week, according to Herzer’s lawyer Pierce O’Donnell. Since then, her lawyers have been back to court, first to ask to depose Redstone ahead of the trial, and now to amend her petition to add Keryn Redstone and to challenge recent amendments to Redstone’s health-care directive.
The case is In re Advance Health Care Directive of Sumner M. Redstone, BP168725, Los Angeles County Superior Court.