Sumner Redstone Settles Legal Battle With Ex-Confidante

(Bloomberg) -- Sumner Redstone settled a long-running legal spat with a former lover and confidante, according to people familiar with the matter, closing the books on a challenge to the billionaire’s mental competency in 2015 that set off a scramble for control of his media empire.

The accord resolves all pending lawsuits between 95-year-old Redstone and Manuela Herzer, said the people, who asked not be identified because terms of the agreement are confidential.

Herzer and another former girlfriend, Sidney Holland, lived with Redstone for years and allegedly received as much as $150 million from him before he evicted them, one shortly after the other, in 2015. The following year, Herzer lost a trial to get reinstated as his health-care agent after the judge was shown a video deposition in which a cursing Redstone testified that he hated her.

Under the terms of the accord, Herzer will pay back $3.25 million to Redstone, give up her claim to an apartment at the Carlyle in New York and won’t challenge Redstone’s estate plan, according to one of the people. The outcome is still a windfall for Herzer because even though she spent as much $15 million on legal bills, she gets to keep $75 million she got years ago from Redstone, the person said.

Herzer’s lawyer, Ronald Richards, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Within minutes of losing the 2016 trial, Herzer sued Redstone’s daughter, Shari Redstone, saying she had manipulated her father to get her out of the picture and prevent her from receiving money he’d planned to leave her in his will. Redstone next sued Herzer and Holland, accusing them of elder abuse and seeking to claw back the $150 million he had lavished on them. Holland settled with Redstone last year.

In 2017, Herzer filed a racketeering lawsuit against Shari Redstone and her son, Tyler Korff, alleging a criminal scheme to destroy Herzer’s relationship with Sumner.

Redstone stepped down as chairman of Viacom Inc. and CBS Corp. in 2016, amid Herzer’s challenge to his mental capacity, which prompted a battle for control over his companies. The media mogul suffers from multiple health issues that make it impossible for him to speak and he communicates with the help of an iPad. A California judge last month granted a request by Korff to appoint a guardian to represent Redstone’s interest in the litigation with Herzer.

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