Inside the paranoid, grubby battle for Sumner Redstone’s fortune
The former girlfriend of media mogul Sumner Redstone forced staff and nurses at his $28million mansion, where she lived, to take lie detector tests and installed surveillance cameras.
After a bitter legal battle where Redstone accused Herzer of elder abuse, she still walked away relatively unscathed financially, having paid back just $3.25million of the roughly $75million he demanded from her.
Unscripted: The Epic Battle for a Media Empire and the Redstone Family Legacy now reveals how Herzer moved into Sumner’s Beverly Park mansion and clamped down on security to ‘control’ CBS and Viacom’s ailing boss.
Once Herzer arrived at Redstone’s five-bedroom hilltop estate in Beverly Park, California, the ‘atmosphere changed dramatically.’ She demanded all nurses and staff only spoke in English and threatened to fire one who used his native tongue.
She also subjected the staff to lie detector tests, according to the book. However, it’s unclear what scrutiny or how often this occurred.
Manuela Herzer pictured with her former fling Sumner Redstone. The pair met and dated, but she still stayed a close confidante as he got older. She moved into his Beverly Park home, despite him already buying her a mansion of her own, and soon started controlling who he communicated with, the book claims
The gorgeous mansion where Herzer lived with Redstone and his fiancée Holland. She demanded all nurses and staff only spoke in English and threatened to fire one who used his native tongue
According to the book: ‘Anyone deemed disloyal to Holland or Herzer was fired. As the women consolidated their control over the mansion, its staff, and Sumner himself, the number of people with unrestricted access to him dwindled.’
But their control went further than just house staff. Holland and Herzer restricted Redstone from seeing his daughter, Shari, and his grandchildren.
The women sat in on all their visits, and according to Giovanni Paz, who was a caretaker and personal assistant to Redstone, the women made him stay in rooms and eavesdrop on conversations.
According to the book, he said: ‘Sydney was especially insistent that I monitor Mr Redstone’s visits with his daughter, Shari.’
Another house staff member Octaviano, who later came out in support for Shari to remove the two women from Sumner’s life, said that ’99 percent of the staff were on the daughter’s side.
Describing the control the women had in the mansion, the book claims he said: ‘I witness the verbal abuse almost every day. Nagging, threatening and back stabbing to win your dad’s sympathy and a lot of document signing.
‘Every move in that house is controlled by Holland and Herzer.’
According to the book: ‘Anyone deemed disloyal to Holland or Herzer was fired. As the women consolidated their control over the mansion, its staff, and Sumner himself, the number of people with unrestricted access to him dwindled’
Redstone and his daughter, Shari, who was ousted from the fold while Holland and Herzer were in charge of her father, the book claims
At the home, Herzer subjected the staff to lie detector tests, according to the book. However, it’s unclear what scrutiny or how often this occurred
On January 29, 2015, members of Sumner’s household staff also filed a report with Los Angeles County Adult Protective Services, claiming that the two women had been mentally and financially abusive.
Holland and Herzer – who were nicknamed ‘whores’ and ‘S and M’ by Shari – blocked the family’s calls to Sumner, and then would tell him they did not ring at all, the book claims.
Herzer had met Sumner years earlier at a dinner party hosted by producer Robert Evans. They had their first date at popular West Hollywood restaurant, Dan Tana’s.
She previously declined Sumner’s marriage proposal, which she later allegedly said was the ‘biggest mistake of my life.’
Regardless, she gained the trust of the ageing billionaire and soon became a confidant. He bought her a $3.85million Beverly Hills mansion, and made her a joint tenant of his New York City sprawling Upper East Side apartment at the Carlyle Hotel.
Argentina-born Herzer was educated in France, and spoke several languages. She was called in to vet Holland after she started dating the media mogul, the book claims.
It wasn’t until 2015, when he realized what had truly happened to his estate, that Sumner filed an astonishing lawsuit against his two former girlfriends. He alleged that they preyed on his frailty and committed elder abuse.
Redstone’s attorney Robert Klieger said that Herzer (left) and Holland (right) made an ‘unlikely but winning team — Herzer, the brains of the operation, who Redstone had known for years and trusted and confided in; and Holland, the younger beauty who had Redstone wrapped around her finger’
They all lived together at his $28M mansion. Herzer had met Sumner years earlier at a dinner party hosted by producer Robert Evans. They had their first date at popular West Hollywood restaurant, Dan Tana’s
Herzer agreed to repay $3.25million and drop all claims after she was sued by the media mogul
Herzer allegedly put up surveillance cameras and fired staff that didn’t follow her rules
Between them, over a five-year period, they had swindled $150million from him, while driving a wedge between him and his family, the lawsuit alleged.
According to the 2015 lawsuit, Redstone attorney Robert Klieger said: ‘They manipulated and emotionally abused Redstone to get what they wanted — jewelry, designer clothing, real estate in Beverly Hills, New York and Paris, and money, lots of it.’
‘They made an unlikely but winning team — Herzer, the brains of the operation, who Redstone had known for years and trusted and confided in; and Holland, the younger beauty who had Redstone wrapped around her finger.’
Everyday, there were bags of cash being delivered to the mansion, which were ‘bundled in stacks of hundred dollar bills.’ They had control of his credit cards – racking up millions of bills.
Court papers from the time showed that Holland allegedly spent $2 million on Redstone’s credit cards in 2014 – including a $58,461 charge at Saks Fifth Avenue and a $752,737 bill at Tracie Butler Interior Design.
Manuela Herzer, Sumner Redstone and Sydney Holland. Redstone lodged a $150M lawsuit against the pair, which were settled out of court
The former Beverly Hills, California, mansion of the late media magnate and billionaire Sumner Redstone
And Herzer’s charges in the same year amounted to $1.5 million – of which $128,780 was spent at Barneys and $82,624 at Hermes.
On top of the $150million lawsuit in Los Angeles, Sumner also sued in New York City in a bid to get Herzer removed from the title of his apartment in the famed Carlyle Hotel.
It was only years later that the bombshell $150million lawsuit was settled – however the billionaire did not even recover a fraction of what he was demanding.
In the settlement, Holland withdrew her claims and paid $250,000 to the Sumner Redstone foundation – which then donated that money to an autism cause. She also paid $750k in escrow.
Herzer, meanwhile, agreed to repay $3.25million and drop all claims – and signed an NDA in the aftermath.
This means that out of the roughly $75million she had conned out of Sumner, she walked away with $72.75million after being kicked out of his mansion.
The damning new details also revealed that the pair met through a Millionaire Matchmaker service, which he paid $120,000 a year for, after he was caught trying to steal his 25-year-old grandson’s girlfriends from him
The settlements, according to the book, were in some ways a victory for Sumner – because both of the women who had entwined themselves in his finances and used him for the gain had to forfeit something.
But the legal win ‘was largely symbolic.’ The book adds: ‘Still, S and M as Shari had so often referred to them, were out of her life at last.’
This comes after it was revealed that Sumner Redstone’s ex-fiancée witnessed her millionaire ex-boyfriend die while they had cocaine-fueled sex.
The billionaire Viacom and CBS mogul was in a relationship with Sydney Holland for five years before he realized she had been fleecing him of $150million alongside his other former flame, Manuela Herzer.
The damning new details also revealed that the pair met through a Millionaire Matchmaker service, which he paid $120,000 a year for, after he was caught trying to steal his 25-year-old grandson’s girlfriends from him.
People close to Sumner – who was known for his playboy antics and frivolous spending on dozens of women – slowly grew tired of his wanton financing and lack of a stable relationship.
Brandon Korff (right), Sumner’s grandson, contacted Bravo’s Millionaire Matchmaker’s famed Patti Stanger in a last-ditch attempt to get his lurid grandfather a potential partner. They are pictured here in 2011
So much so, his own family members attempted to find him partners in a bid to streamline his attentions and desires.
Brandon Korff, Sumner’s grandson, contacted Bravo’s Millionaire Matchmaker’s famed Patti Stanger in a last-ditch attempt to get his lurid grandfather a potential partner.
This happened after Korff, 25, complained that his grandfather’s serial dating was straining his own life. He’d often receive frantic calls at 4am from Sumner, begging the George Washington University graduate to introduce him to romantic companions.
Sumner, then 87-years-old, would even pursue the same young models and actresses that his 25-year-old grandson was dating, the book reveals.
The billionaire grandfather would brazenly flirt and caress Brandon’s girlfriends at public events – including at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards.
Finally, Brandon turned to the professional Millionaire Matchmaker. The young man, clearly at the end of his tether, allegedly said to Stanger: ‘I can’t deal with him.’
It was via this $10,000-a-month matchmaking venture that Sumner met Holland.
Initially, the billionaire told Stanger that he couldn’t pay the yearly fee up front, because ‘he’d been placed on an allowance to curb his increasingly lavish spending on women,’ the book revealed.
But he eventually coughed up the cash. Despite failing to find a match for months, he was then paired with 39-year-old Holland in 2010 – who was nearly 50 years his junior.
But Holland herself had a tendentious past. She was accustomed to dating rich, older men, the new book claims. Her first husband Cecil Holland, was 16 years older than her.
The San Diego-born ‘businesswoman’ had clinched on to failed venture after failed venture – including an eco-friendly yoga apparel and lingerie brand – before she met the billionaire media mogul.
Sydney Holland and Manuela Herzer attend the Friendly House Los Angeles Annual Awards Luncheon at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on October 26, 2013
Holland was being actively pursued by creditors and even drove a dilapidated small red car, with the wing mirrors held on with duct tape, before being matched with media titan Sumner.
Perhaps most salacious element of her dating history was her relationship with golfing bigwig Bruce Parker – who she met at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting.
Despite being 15 years her senior, Holland moved into the millionaire’s glam Wilshire Boulevard apartment just a month into dating, driving a Mercedes he leased for her. It’s estimated that Parker, in stocks alone, had $21million to his name at the time.
However their honeymoon period came crashing down just months later in October 2009, when Parker suddenly died of a heart attack in the middle of having sex with Holland. Cocaine was later found in his bloodstream. His AA meetings, it seems, we’re not as fruitful as once hoped.
Manuela Herzer on her way to court in 2016
Defiant Holland refused to move out of her dead boyfriend’s apartment, demanded she kept the swanky car and wanted to be named an executor of Parker’s estate. But his grieving family instead paid her $164,000 in a settlement and sent her packing her Gucci luggage set.
Meeting the ailing media mogul in 2010, therefore, seemed opportune. She described their courtship as ‘idyllic,’ and the book claims the pair spent their days listening to Frank Sinatra while driving in Malibu and eating chocolate mousse at lavish restaurants.
Just months later, Holland found herself engaged to Sumner after he presented her with a rare, nine carat canary yellow diamond engagement ring.
Redstone – who had already been put on a limit for his lavish spending on women – showered her with cash, art, and red roses, alongside a swanky house in West Hollywood and Porsche.
It was then that Herzer and Holland seemingly formed an alliance to manipulate and take control of the ageing billionaire’s finances, cutting him off from his family and planning their takeover, the book claims.
UNSCRIPTED: The Epic Battle for a Media Empire and the Redstone Family Legacy by James B. Stewart and Rachel Abrams is published by Penguin Press, a Penguin Random House Company in the US / Cornerstone Press in the UK / Feb. 16 on-sale / £25 in Hardback, £12.99 in Ebook, £14 in Audiobook.