Sumner Redstone formally asked a Massachusetts court on Friday to deny Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman’s request for an expedited trial on the issue of Dauman’s removal from the Redstone family trust.
In his filing, Redstone said that Dauman and former trustee George Abrams are motivated by “self-interest.” Redstone also requested that issues related to the trust be handled in California, instead of Massachusetts, going forward.
Thursday, a geriatric psychiatrist who examined the 93-year-old mogul ruled that Redstone “retains the legal mental capacity to make the decisions” regarding the future of his business operations.
In a statement released by Redstone family representatives, Dr. James Spar of the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA said that Redstone affirmed his recent decision to oust Dauman and Director Abrams from his trust and the Board of Directors of National Amusements, Inc., the privately held firm that holds a controlling stake in both CBS and Viacom.
Asked about his decision to remove Dauman, Redstone told Spar: “He’s done a bad job running Viacom.” As for Abrams’ ouster, Redstone said, “He’s not listening to me.”
Spar wrote that Redstone appeared “well dressed and groomed, alert and in no distress, and quite cooperative with the examination” — in an apparent contradiction of recent claims by Dauman and Viacom board members that the aged executive is no longer capable of making business decisions.
In response to the latest filing, legal counsel for Dauman said in a statement to TheWrap: “There are many undisclosed facts that will emerge concerning the conduct of Shari [Redstone] and her representatives. Even their own papers filed today reveal that the Trustees as stated in the affidavits have not seen Sumner for as long as ‘many years.’ We look forward to a full hearing on Tuesday when we will seek expedited discovery and an independent review of the facts in order to resolve this matter as quickly as possible.”
Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.