Sumner Redstone still has the power left in him which he appears to be using it to benefit his daughter, Shari in a developing power struggle over her father’s $40 billion media empire.
The 92-year-old mogul sent a faxed notification to ousted Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman, and his longtime protégé, as well as Dauman’s long time ally, director George Abrams, as trustees of National Amusements and the trust that will supervise his 80 percent controlling stake, upon his death or incapacity, fortune reports, citing two sources familiar with the matter.
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The move, first reported by Fortune, could set the stage for a protracted legal battle. A representative for Dauman blasted the effort as “invalid and illegal” and suggested that Shari Redstone, who is vice chair of both companies, was behind the attempt to oust him from the trust.
“They are a shameful effort by Shari Redstone to seize control by unlawfully using her ailing father Sumner Redstone’s name and signature, ” the spokesman said in a statement. “As she knows and as court proceedings and other facts have demonstrated, Sumner Redstone now lacks the capacity to have taken these steps. Sumner Redstone would never have summarily dismissed Philippe Dauman and George Abrams, his trusted friends and advisers for decades.”
The notification on Friday sent to Dauman and Abrams was sent by a Los Angeles lawyer, Michael C. Tu, a partner at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe. A Viacom spokesman said this lawyer “previously unknown until this week to anyone associated with Sumner other than Shari Redstone.”
He added “The actions taken in Sumner Redstone’s name are completely inconsistent with his long expressed wishes and intent and extremely disruptive and damaging to Viacom and all its shareholders.”
L.A. County Superior Court Judge David Cowan found that Redstone was in command of his faculties enough to know whom he wanted in charge of his health care — his daughter Shari.