Sumner Redstone filed papers in a Massachusetts court charging that long-time confident Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman is motivated by “self interest” in opposing a move to remove Dauman from the trust that controls Redstone’s assets.
Redstone also maintains that he has the mental capacity and authority to make business decisions, that he is not being unduly influenced by his daughter Shari Redstone and argues that the case should be held in California, where he has already been victorious in a legal actions.
As part of a battle for control of Redstone’s media empire, which includes Viacom and CBS, Dauman and another Viacom director George Abrams, sued on Monday to block Redstone’s decision to remove Dauman and Abrams as directors of Redstone’s holding company, National Amusements, and as trustees of the trust that will control Redstone’s assets after he dies.
In his filing late Friday, Redstone is asking the court to deny Dauman’s motion for an expedited discovery and trial. A hearing is scheduled for Monday.
Redstone notes the geriatric psychiatrist Dr. James Spar has examined him in May and concluded that Redstone is “clearly communicating” his business decisions, and they “…reflect his own authentic wishes and preferences.”
He argues that the trust has procedures to determine incapacity and those procedures have not be activated.
He also argues that he is not being manipulated by daughter Shari Redstone, who sees to assume control of his business. Earlier this year Shari Redstone declined an opportunity to become chairperson of Viacom, the filing notes. And Dr. Spar says Redstone’s decisions “seemed to reflect his own, authentic wishes and preferences, and not the influence of any of the individuals in his environment.”
In any event, the filing says, whether or not Redstone has the capacity to make a decision, the majority of the trustees support removing Dauman and Abrams from the trust and the National Amusements board.
Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.
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