The Latest on Sumner Redstone’s Condition

Jun 3, 2016  •  Post A Comment

Here is the complete press release that was issued on Thursday by those in the camp of Sumner Redstone, 93, the chairman of the board of National Amusements. National Amusements controls both Viacom and CBS Corp.:



Board-Certified Geriatric Psychiatrist Twice Observes/Questions Mr. Redstone

Los Angeles, CA – Sumner Redstone “retains the legal mental capacity to make the decisions” he has made to remove Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman and Director George Abrams from the Sumner M. Redstone National Amusements Trust as well as the Board of Directors of National Amusements, Inc. That conclusion comes from renowned Geriatric Psychiatrist Dr. James E. Spar, Professor at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and author of three books and dozens of articles on geriatric psychiatry. Dr. Spar, an expert on issues of capacity and undue influence, examined Mr. Redstone at home on May 20 and May 24.

In his written evaluation of the May 20 meeting, Dr. Spar describes Mr. Redstone as “well dressed and groomed, alert and in no distress, and quite cooperative with the examination.” The psychiatrist gave a similar description of the May 24 meeting. The psychiatrist questioned Mr. Redstone about specific decisions made regarding Dauman and Abrams:

“I asked Mr. Redstone why he was removing Mr. Dauman as Trustee and Director, and he said, ‘He’s done a bad job running Viacom.’ I asked the same question about Mr. Abrams, and Mr. Redstone said, ‘He’s not listening to me.’”

In their May 24 meeting, Dr. Spar had a follow-up discussion with Mr. Redstone, who is Viacom’s controlling shareholder and Chairman Emeritus:

“Several times during this discussion Mr. Redstone reminded me that he makes all the decisions about Viacom and CBS.”

“…Mr. Redstone emphatically indicated that he no longer trusts Mr. Dauman or Mr. Abrams.”

“I asked Mr. Redstone to explain his belief that Mr. Dauman had ‘done a bad job running Viacom.’ He indicated that he had been following the value of Viacom stock over the past year, and knew that it had declined significantly. He spontaneously added that the value of the stock had gone up since his decisions about Mr. Dauman and Mr. Abrams had become public. Mr. Redstone was particularly displeased with Mr. Dauman’s decision (supported by Mr. Abrams) to sell part of Paramount Pictures (a company which Mr. Redstone acknowledged is “his baby”), and several times expressed his emphatic disapproval of that move. Mr. Redstone said that he had clearly expressed his feelings about the Paramount sale to both Mr. Dauman and Mr. Abrams, but in his view they ignored his wishes.”

Dr. Spar, who has examined Sumner Redstone on numerous occasions dating back to 2014, concluded the following:

“Based upon the evaluations conducted on May 20 and May 24, 2016, I believe that Mr. Redstone retains the legal mental capacity to make the decisions he described to me on those dates regarding the National Amusements Board of Directors and the Trustees of the National Amusements Trust. Specifically, with respect to those decisions, Mr. Redstone clearly communicated to me that he understood and appreciated the rights, duties, and responsibilities affected by those decisions; the probable consequences for himself and the other persons affected by the decisions, and the significant risks, benefits, and reasonable alternatives involved in those decisions. Moreover, the changes he made seemed appropriate to me in light of recent events, and seemed to reflect his own, authentic wishes and preferences, and not the influence of any of the individuals in his environment.”

Dr. Spar also administered a Mini-Mental State Exam, a widely used test of cognitive functions, and determined that Mr. Redstone had only a “mild degree” of cognitive impairment, given his age and advanced education.



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