In the latest salvo in the fight over the health of Sumner Redstone, Manuela Herzer, the ex-girlfriend of the CBS and Viacom chairman emeritus, lashed out at his daughter Shari Redstone.
“Shari’s attempt to blame me or anyone else [for her family’s infighting] is another lie and manipulation,” Herzer said.
The statement, which Herzer gave in a legal declaration filed on Thursday, painted the Redstone family as one whose “feuds have been going on for decades — both publicly and privately.” Meanwhile, Herzer described herself as a loving caretaker who tried to insulate the now-92-year-old mogul from the strife.
The battle over Sumner Redstone’s health — and control of the major media companies that he has grown and operated — has raged in recent years. Earlier this month, he resigned his chairmanships. Leslie Moonves replaced him at CBS and Philippe Dauman took over at Viacom.
Herzer was set as Sumner’s health care proxy until recently. In a document filed earlier in the lawsuit, Shari Redstone asserted that it was Herzer who manipulated Sumner away from his family.
In the declaration, Herzer described Shari and Sumner as having “been estranged for many years” and said that one reason that her ex-boyfriend “intensely” disliked his daughter “was that he considered her greedy and vicious. ‘Shari is all about money,’ he would frequently tell me. ‘A billion dollars is not enough for her.'”
The document, which is filled with examples of “hostile feelings” that Sumner felt for Shari, goes on to say that “Sumner was desperate to get Shari out of the company.”
“The rosy picture painted by Shari of her supposed reconciliation with her father is a smoke screen,” Herzer declared. “Sumner has become a pawn in a highly-publicized succession battle for the Chairmanship of Viacom.”
She continued, “I am terribly afraid for Sumner. He is in failing health, and his present health care arrangement is unsatisfactory. … Sumner has lost his mental acuity and has been terribly manipulated” in order to prevent Herzer “or anyone else from receiving a significant bequest.”
Late Thursday, Nancy Sterling, a spokeswoman for Shari Redstone, issued a response to Herzer’s claims: “Shari Redstone is not going to dignify today’s baseless and mean-spirited attack on the Redstone family with any comment.”