Friday, May 1, 2009
Earlier on this blog, I discussed various issues regarding Brooke Astor and the disputes with her son and grandson. On August 13, 2007, Brooke died at her Holly Hill estate in Briarcliff, New York at the age of 105.
A very detailed and comprehensive account of Brooke's situation may be found in John Richardson, The Battle for Mrs. Astor, Vanity Fair, October 2008.
The next chapter in this drama is now unfolding. Her son, Anthony "Tony" Marshall, is on trial on charges of conspiracy, forgery, grand larceny, and possession of stolen property. The trial began on April 27, 2009.
Here are some of the details:
- Prosecutors claim Anthony took $198 million and was able to do so because of Brooke's diminished capacity.
- Prosecutors assert Anthony had her make changes to her will which greatly increased his share of her estate.
- Anthony's lawyers claim Brooke had capacity and changed her will because she loved Anthony and wanted him to be happy.
- Linda Gillies testified that Anthony told Brooke that she did not even have enough money to buy clothes or shoes.
- There is conflicting testimony regarding Brooke's actual mental state at the time she changed her will, and for several years before that time.
See Samuel Maull, Trial opens for NYC socialite's son, his lawyer,Wash. Post, April 27, 2009; Laura Italiano, Witness: Astor's son argued mom was 'poor,' NY Post, April 29, 2009; Melissa Grace & Corky Siemaszko, I told lawyer that Brooke's lost her mind, says friend of Astor author Louis Auchincloss, NY Daily News, May 1, 2009.