Sumner Redstone agreed to a face-to-face meeting with Viacom director Charles Philipps, but the meeting was scuttled by CEO Philippe Dauman, according to a spokesman for the 93-year-old media mogul said Monday.
Dauman, joined by fellow Viacom directors George Abrams and Frederic Salerno have sued Redstone and his daughter Shari Redstone, over moves by Redstone to remove them from various boards and trusts controlling a $40 billion media empire.
In the suits, Dauman and the others charge, among other things, that they’ve been blocked from meeting with Redstone, a long-time business associate, to determine when he’s changed many of the plans he made for his estate.
“That fiction has been shattered,” spokesman Mike Lawrence said in a statement on behalf of Sumner Redstone’s strategy team.
“When Sumner agreed to make his wishes clear in a face-to-face meeting with independent director Charles Phillips, the Viacom board would not let that happen,” the statement said. “Philippe and his allies long ago stopped caring about what Sumner wants, or even the shareholders generally. It’s all about self-preservation."
A Viiacom spokeman called the statement from the Redstone 'strategy team' inaccurate and incomplete. "The only fiction that has been shattered is that a meeting would be permitted that could actually assess Mr. Redstone's capacity and undue influence. The one fact not in question is that an examination to assess Mr. Redstone’s capacity and undue influence needs to happen. We will have no further comment until we hear from the courts," the spokesman said in a statement.
Early on Monday, Dauman filed paper asking that a motion to dismiss his lawsuit in Massachusetts be rejected. A hearing on the Massachusetts suit, aimed at having moves to remove him as a trustee of Sumner Redstone’s trust and a director of National Amusements, the Redstone family holding company, declared improper.