Sunday, May 26, 2024

Exclusive: Judge Rules Sumner Redstone Girlfriend Manuela Herzer Doesn’t Get $3.75 mil Apartment in Hotel Carlyle


National Amusements chairman Sumner Redstone, owner of Viacom, will get to keep his apartement in the Hotel Carlyle after all. A judge in New York ruled today against his ex galpal Manuela Herzer, who said she’d been promised the apartment as a gift.

Decided on June 26, 2018
Renwick, J.P., Gische, Kapnick, Gesmer, Kern, JJ.

159840/16 6988N 6987

[*1] Sumner M. Redstone, Plaintiff-Respondent,


Manuela Herzer, Defendant-Appellant, Hotel Carlyle Owners Corporation, Defendant.

Law Offices of Ronald Richards & Associates, A.P.C., Beverley Hills, CA (Ronald N. Richards of the bar of the State of California, admitted pro hac vice, of counsel), for appellant.

Matalon Shweky Elman PLLC, New York (Howard I. Elman of counsel), for respondent.

Order and judgment (one paper), Supreme Court, New York County (Erika M. Edwards, J.), entered October 26, 2017, which, inter alia, granting plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment on his first cause of action for a declaration that defendant Manuela Herzer has no valid claim to an ownership interest in a certain apartment, directing defendant Hotel Carlyle Owners Corporation to cancel a proprietary lease and 2,110 shares for the apartment issued to plaintiff and Herzer and issue a new proprietary lease and shares to the apartment solely to plaintiff, and denying Herzer’s application for a mental competency examination of plaintiff on an expedited basis, unanimously affirmed, without costs. Order, same court and Justice, entered January 19, 2018, which, insofar as appealed from as limited by the briefs, denied Herzer’s motion to renew, unanimously affirmed, without costs.

Plaintiff and Herzer entered into an agreement which clearly stated that plaintiff was purchasing the subject apartment and that he intended to give the apartment as a gift to Herzer upon his death. In the agreement, Herzer acknowledged that notwithstanding the inclusion of her name on the contract of sale, proprietary lease and shares, the apartment belonged exclusively to plaintiff until his death, and that adding defendant’s name was a matter of convenience for plaintiff.

“[T]o make a valid inter vivos gift there must exist the intent on the part of the donor to make a present transfer; delivery of the gift, either actual or constructive to the donee; and acceptance by the donee” (Gruen v Gruen , 68 NY2d 48, 53 [1986]). The proponent of a gift has the burden of proving these elements by clear and convincing evidence (id. ). Here, Supreme Court properly concluded, based on the clear language of the agreement, that plaintiff did not make an inter vivos gift of the apartment to Herzer. The court properly refused to consider extrinsic evidence of the parties’ intent based on the express terms of the agreement.

The court also correctly denied Herzer’s motion to renew as she presented no new evidence that would have changed the result (CPLR 2221[e]). Evidence of interfamilial squabbling had no bearing on the agreement, which was clear on its face.

An expedited mental examination of plaintiff was unwarranted because a person of unsound mind who was not judicially declared incompetent may sue in the same manner as anyone else (see Rau v Tannenbaum , 85 AD2d 522 [1st Dept 1981]). No evidence was presented that plaintiff was judicially declared incompetent. Furthermore, Herzer admitted that plaintiff [*2]was of sound mind when he signed the agreement which limited the gift. Thus, his present mental condition was not relevant.

We have considered Herzer’s remaining arguments and find them unavailing.



ENTERED: JUNE 26, 2018


Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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