Redstone's ex-companion challenges mogul's signature on doc

AP News
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Posted: Dec 14, 2015 5:16 PM
Redstone's ex-companion challenges mogul's signature on doc

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A former companion of Sumner Redstone contended in court documents Monday that his signature on a recent document had been forged and seeks an evaluation of his mental state.

The filing by ex-companion Manuela Herzer — a former girlfriend of Redstone and a caretaker in recent years — contains a declaration from a handwriting expert who asserts Redstone's signature on an agreement allowing Herzer to remove items from his home was likely forged.

It also accuses Redstone's lawyers of misrepresenting the condition of the 92-year-old who controls CBS Corp. and Viacom Inc.

Herzer is also seeking to have Redstone's mental state assessed. Her filing Monday contains a voicemail left by Redstone that her attorneys say shows he is unable to competently make decisions for himself.

Herzer contends Redstone cannot intelligibly speak or focus on visitors, and requires around-the-clock medical care.

Redstone's lawyer Gabrielle Vidal accused Herzer of lying and states in a separate court filing that she witnessed Redstone signing the documents in question.

"Ms. Herzer's lies continue, and her litigation tactics lack merit and basic human decency," Vidal wrote in a statement. "The court was informed of Mr. Redstone's speech impairment by his doctor."

A judge set a hearing for Dec. 21 to consider the merits of Herzer's filing and her contention that the information about Redstone's signature and descriptions of his health warrant an evaluation.

Redstone controls CBS and Viacom through National Amusements Inc., which holds nearly 80 percent of the voting stock in both media companies. He hasn't joined an investor conference call since November 2014.

Herzer had been designated by Redstone until recently to make health care decisions for him but was removed from that role and kicked out of his home in October.

She states in the filing Monday that she is not interested in Redstone's fortune and has already received tens of millions of dollars from him.

Redstone recently underwent a brain scan, which found no signs of stroke or other impairment, his lawyers told a court in a filing last month.

"One side or the other is not telling the truth, and the only way to learn the truth is to secure the witnesses' and Mr. Redstone's testimony under oath and have the court or its representative visit Mr. Redstone," Herzer's latest court filing states.

Redstone earned a combined $24 million in compensation from CBS and Viacom in fiscal 2014. CBS' chief executive is Les Moonves, while Philippe Dauman, Redstone's longtime lawyer, runs Viacom.

Dauman is now Redstone's chosen person to make medical decisions for him, court filings state.

After his death, control of CBS and Viacom will pass to seven trustees that include Dauman, Redstone's daughter Shari Redstone and her son Tyler Korff.