New lawsuit alleges paid informants, pricey escort at Redstone mansion
By Lisa Richwine
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Even as a Los Angeles judge dismissed one case brought by a former girlfriend of media mogul Sumner Redstone, she filed a new lawsuit that threatens to keep salacious allegations about the 92-year-old’s lifestyle alive.
The new complaint, filed by Manuela Herzer, 52, in Los Angeles Superior Court on Monday, alleges that Redstone’s daughter Shari interfered with the inheritance Herzer was due to receive in his will and invaded her privacy.
A spokeswoman for Shari Redstone called Herzer’s new allegations a “baseless attack.”
“It is total fiction and continues to speak volumes about Herzer’s motivation and character,” she said.
The lawsuit asserts that Shari Redstone, during a period when she was estranged from her father, assembled a network of “nurse-informers” within his Beverly Hills mansion to report on his activities and turn the elder Redstone against Herzer.
Shari Redstone paid one of the nurses $10,000 for sending her information, the lawsuit said, adding that the same nurse was fired by Sumner Redstone for unrelated reasons.
“Shari organized and implemented what would eventually become a successful campaign to turn Sumner against Herzer and strip Herzer not only of her role as his health care agent, but also of her inheritance,” the lawsuit said.
Herzer, 52, filed the new legal action shortly after a California judge tossed her case seeking to be reinstated as the person designated to make his medical decisions if he was incapacitated. She had argued that Redstone was not mentally competent and had been the victim of “undue influence” by people around him.
A representative for Sumner Redstone, controlling shareholder of Viacom Inc and CBS Corp, had no comment on Herzer’s latest legal move.
Herzer’s lawsuit, which seeks at least $70 million in damages, argues that the nurses violated medical privacy laws as part of a conspiracy that started in September 2014.
It also says that one of the nurses, Jeremy Jagiello, controlled Sumner Redstone’s access “to his favorite paid ‘escort.'”
The woman received at least $7 million from Sumner Redstone, the lawsuit said, including an upfront payment, a house and $4,500 a month in cash that was left for her at the guard gate to his mansion.
Jagiello arranged the woman’s visits “and even stayed in the room with Sumner during his intimate encounters” with her, the lawsuit said. He also relayed “supposed love messages” from the woman to Redstone “to increase his influence over Sumner, crossing ethical and professional boundaries without hesitation.”
An attorney for Jagiello did not respond to requests for comment.
(Reporting by Lisa Richwine; Editing by Tom Brown)