Quoted from Pinballrocks:
Does Gary Stern own / control the rights to the former Sega pinball division which I think is a prior combination of ( Sega, Data East and STERN Electronics )
No, Sega was just Data East and Sega into the modern Stern Pinball.
Stern Electronics, Inc. went bankrupt, just like Chicago Coin did when they (Stern family, Sam/Gary) bought their assets... without their liabilities. Now, where those assets went to (Gary's ex-wife, possibly) there would be no way for Gary to have moved the assets directly to Data East pinball (or Pinstar, the company set up between SEI and DE pinball) without having taken on the liabilities as well. (Bankruptcy courts don't let you just take the valuable stuff with you and leave the crap for the creditors to fight over....).
As for crediting the original designers, remember they were all employed in a work-for-hire situation... they don't own any of the work they created. The SEI entity did.
The only thing in common are the people.