The long legal battle by Michael Redstone to claim shares of National Amusements Inc. (NAI) that he believed were improperly taken from him had pretty much fallen off the news radar. But the Los Angeles Times discovered that a decision was finally issued last week.
The events in this case date back to 1972, when Michael, then a teenager, claims his own father, Edward, and uncle, Sumner, bilked him out of much of his inheritance from his grandfather. Michael didn’t sue until 2006, but succeeded in an appeal to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, which overturned a lower court ruling that the statute of limitations had expired. Michael claimed he only became aware of the actions by his father and uncle in 2004.
After the case was returned to the trial court, Suffolk County Superior Court Judge Margaret Hinkle heard four days of testimony in July over whether Michael’s grandfather, also named Michael (“Mickey”) Redstone, had created an oral trust to give him more shares of NAI, the company that controls both CBS Corporation and Viacom, than he ever received. The shares he did receive were bought back by the company in 1984 for $15 million. Had Hinkle ruled in favor of the now 50-year-old heir, he would have received many millions, perhaps hundreds of millions, depending on when the stake was valued. But that was not to be.
“I conclude that the plaintiffs have not met their burden of proving that Mickey created oral trusts in 1959 for the benefit of [Michael’s deceased sister] Ruth Ann and Michael,” the LA Times wrote in quoting from Hinkle’s decision.