Sumner Redstone's Granddaughter Claims He Lives In Prison-Like Condition
Keryn Redstone is seeking to join a lawsuit launched by Redstone's ex-companion seeking control of his healthcare. Legal documents paint a grim portrait of his life and relationship with daughter Shari Redstone, who once allegedly said to him "let him die."
A declaration filed in court Tuesday by Sumner Redstone’s 34-year-old granddaughter Keryn provides an airing of family linen that would do the Bravo network proud.
Referring to her frail, 92-year-old grandfather as “Grumpy,” Keryn's 12-page declaration depicts Redstone’s daughter Shari as a raging woman who expressed hostility toward Sumner and Keryn “in sometimes dark, threatening ways.” At one 2014 dinner, Keryn describes a spat when she refused Shari’s request to give up her seat next to Sumner at the dinner table so Shari could sit beside her father.
“Shari erupted and threatened to kill me,” Keryn states in the declaration, obtained by The Hollywood Reporter. She also alleges that Shari, 62, and CBS board member and attorney David Andelman in the past falsely accused her of stealing from another aging relative, prompting Sumner to remove her from certain trusts.
Keryn’s declaration was filed Tuesday as Shari has been sitting for a deposition in connection with litigation brought by Sumner’s former companion, Manuela Herzer, who is seeking to be reinstated as his healthcare representative. Herzer, a longtime companion of the Viacom and CBS mogul, was ejected from Sumner's Beverly Park mansion in 2015 as Shari began to take a more active role in her father's life. The framework of a legal settlement between Herzer, Viacom and the Redstone family had been reached earlier this month but hit a snag for unspecified reasons.
Keryn, the daughter of Sumner’s estranged son, Brent, has been close to Herzer for some time; she acknowledges that Herzer even tried to get Sumner to reinstate Keryn in the trusts from which he had removed her. Keryn now seeks to be Herzer’s co-plaintiff in the healthcare litigation, demanding a neurological exam of Sumner to establish whether he had the capacity to exclude Herzer from his life (and his will), as he did in November 2015.
"This is not the first time that Keryn has sued an elderly relative for her own financial gain," Shari Redstone said in a statement. "I am sad and disappointed that Keryn has chosen to align herself with Herzer against my father. I will not dignify the absurdity of Keryn's false claims with any further response."
Keryn says she relocated from Denver in September 2015, just after Sumner split from girlfriend Sydney Holland. She says Sumner asked her to move in and gave her a credit card to cover expenses. (Whether she had permission to use that credit card appears to have become a point of contention, though Keryn's declaration does not address that.) Soon after she arrived, Keryn says Sumner — obsessed with Holland's dating another man — "began to mentally check out.” As has Herzer, Keryn depicts Sumner at that point as a man who constantly demanded sex and who cried often — wept, in fact, through the opening credits of Deadpool when it was screened at his home.
According to Keryn, Sumner’s condition began to deteriorate even more in the week before Herzer was ejected from the house. “He often wore a blank expression, with glossy [sic] eyes,” she says. Things got worse when Sumner was deprived of Herzer’s "excellent care,” she continues, adding, “This was not my Grumpy any more ... I was in the presence of a ghost.” (Grumpy is a family nickname for the famously contentious Sumner.)
By December, she claims the house "began to feel like a prison, and I know what a prison feels like — I worked in one.” Keryn says starting in January, she was denied access to Sumner by way of his estate attorney, Leah Bishop, except for one occasion on Valentine’s Day. At that point, she says, he seemed unaware of her presence. According to Keryn, Bishop has said she can see Sumner again only if she signs a “loyalty letter,” apparently stating she would not side with Herzer in her litigation. Bishop's spokesman did not reply immediately to a request for comment.
Keryn describes Shari’s resistance to inserting a feeding tube into Sumner’s abdomen in 2014 on the grounds that it was a violation of her religious beliefs. Shari also opposed sending Sumner to a hospital, according to Keryn, saying if he were to get sick, “Let him die at home.” At that point Sumner yelled, “I don’t want to die!” but Keryn says Shari “proceeded as if Grumpy were not there.”
Like several others in her family, Keryn is a law school graduate (University of Denver), though whether she has ever practiced is unclear. She describes Sumner as a loving grandfather who comforted her as a teething toddler by giving her a black olive to chew, adding: “[To] this day, I have warm and happy memories every time I eat a black olive.”
She also recalls sharing “interests and passions” with her grandfather, who played the piano with her and could beat her at tennis even as he aged. But all her memories were not good.
Keryn reports on a clash over her “dear aunt Cecelie” at a time when this relative was in failing health. According to Keryn’s account, she became the primary person to care for her aunt and resisted Shari’s efforts to put Cecelie into a nursing home. Keryn filed a petition to be named her aunt’s caregiver and Shari opposed it — by Keryn’s account, because Shari herself wanted control of Cecelie’s estate. In the end, Keryn says, the court entrusted the aunt to a neutral third party, leaving Keryn to reflect with satisfaction that she had “protected [her] from Shari” even though she had lost her case.
But it wasn’t over: Keryn alleges that Shari and Andelman “falsely told Grumpy that not only had I lost the case but that I had also stolen from Aunt Cece.” Sumner then removed Keryn from certain of his trusts — until Herzer, then still very much in Sumner’s life, went to her defense. But it was too late. Keryn says Sumner was unable to effect the changes he desired.
April 19, 6 p.m.: Updated to include statement from Shari Redstone.