Sumner Redstone, majority shareholder of Viacom, filed papers in a Massachusetts court moving for the dismissal of Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman’s suit looking to invalidate Redstone’s attempt to remove Dauman as a trustee of his trust and a director of his family holding company.
Redstone and Dauman are engaged in a battle over who will control Viacom now and when the ailing media mogul dies.
The papers include a declaration signed by 93-year-old Redstone. The declaration says he made the decision to remove Dauman and another Viacom director, George Abrams.
“I understand that Philippe Dauman and George Abrams content I was unduly influenced by my daughter to remove them as trustees and directors,” Redstone says. “That is offensive and untrue. I want that dispute, and any challenge to my competency, to be decided in Los Angeles, California. I object to having any such challenge decided in the courts of Massachusetts or otherwise outside of my home state of California.”
Redstone says the declaration was read to him several times before it was executed.
The signature is basically a line that slants upwards.
A hearing in the case is scheduled for June 30.
In his motion, Redstone says that Dauman’s suit fails because Redstone has not been judged to be incompetent under the terms of the trust; that his claim that Redstone is being unduly influenced by his daughter Shari wouldn’t invalidate his decision to terminate Dauman and Abrams; and lastly that any decision should be made by a court in California.
A spokesman for Dauman and Abrams responded to the motion with a statement:
“The motions to dismiss of Shari Redstone and the lawyers hired for Sumner represent continued efforts to avoid a fair inquiry into Sumner’s well-being and how various documents came to be. The facts will only come out through discovery on an expedited basis. We are urging the court to allow the inquiry to proceed as quickly as possible,' the statement said.
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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