Billionaire Sumner Redstone
Viacom’s Sumner Redstone in 2014. Photo via jewishbusinessnews.com

An attorney for a former live-in companion of Sumner Redstone told a judge Monday he will seek another mental evaluation of the former media mogul to determine whether the 94-year-old billionaire was “calling the shots” when he modified his trust and deprived the woman of about $70 million in cash and real estate that she alleges he promised her.

However, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge David Cowan said he will have to be convinced that a second psychological exam is needed, given that one was previously done in a related petition by Manuela Herzer that was dismissed in 2016.

“You need to think about what the vehicle is for me to make that call,” Cowan told Herzer’s lawyer, Ronald Richards.

The judge told Richards that he may first have to file another motion. He said Richards could ask for the appointment of a guardian ad litem, a person who looks after the interests of a minor or incompetent person. The judge told Richards to file his court papers by Nov. 6 and said he would hold a hearing on Dec. 5.

Richards, who contends Redstone’s daughter, Shari Redstone, is actually making the trust decisions that have negatively affected Herzer, told Cowan he will make the proper motion.

“I simply want a doctor to say there is a real person calling the shots,” Richards said. “The court cannot tolerate a phantom proceeding through a surrogate.”

Richards told Cowan that the same mental health expert who evaluated Redstone the first time is willing to do a follow-up study if the court orders it.

Cowan said he would like to have the case in trial by the beginning of 2018.

“I do want to get this resolved sooner rather than later, given the age of Mr. Redstone,” Cowan said.

Herzer’s petition was brought in June in response to an April 21 ruling by Judge Robert Hess that Herzer’s inheritance claim — which originally was part of her lawsuit against Shari Redstone — should have been brought in probate court.

Herzer was a longtime friend of Redstone, and she formerly lived at his Beverly Park mansion. Her petition asks that an amendment to the Redstone trust that eliminated her as a beneficiary be invalidated. The October 2015 revision by Redstone deprived Herzer of her claims to $50 million in cash and to his mansion, which is valued at $20 million.

Redstone also removed Herzer from his charitable foundation, which is largely devoted to advancements in cancer treatment and burn recovery, her court papers state. Herzer was “significantly involved” in the foundation, her petition states.

“Through deceit, treachery, lying, spying, an unlawful eviction, and bribery, Shari had accomplished her objective to influence Sumner,” the petition alleges. “Herzer was forever banished from Sumner’s home life, and personal trust, and Shari had removed the last impediment to controlling her weak and easily confused father.”

Redstone kicked another former girlfriend, Sydney Holland, out of his home in September 2015 after accusing her of cheating on him. A month later, he evicted Herzer, amended his trust and revoked her ability to make health care decisions on his behalf.

Herzer later filed a petition asking a judge to find that Redstone lacked the mental capacity to remove her as his health care agent, but her case was dismissed in May 2016 after one day of trial testimony. Herzer then immediately sued Shari Redstone and the latter’s son, Tyler Korff.

–City News Service

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