Monday, December 3, 2007

Brooke Astor's son 'swindled his mother's fortune'

Brooke Astor’s only son was charged yesterday with trying to cheat the renowned socialite and philanthropist out of almost a third of her $198 million (£95 million) fortune, which she had planned to leave to charity.

Anthony Marshall, 83, a Tony Award-winning Broadway producer and former CIA officer who landed at Iwo Jima during the Second World War, allegedly took advantage of his mother’s Alzheimer’s disease to swindle her before she died in August at the age of 105.

He is accused of tricking her into leaving him $60 million that she intended to bequeath to charity and of convincing her to sell a $10 million painting by lying to her that she was running out of money. He is also charged with stealing two other works of art from his mother – paintings by Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo and John Frederick Lewis that were each valued at about half a million dollars.

Prosectors say that he used the stolen money to buy a 55-foot yacht for $900,000 and to pay the wages of its captain, as well as to cover $600,000 in expenses at the Cove End estate in Maine that he had been given by his mother.

He also allegedly used his mother’s money to pay a social secretary who worked primarily for a theatre production company that he ran from her flat without her knowing.

The charges amount to “elder abuse” on a grand scale in the most rarefied social circles of New York.

“It’s not unusual . . . where a care-giver or member of the family takes advantage of a person with diminished capacity.

The only thing unusual here is the amount of money,” said Robert Morgenthau, the veteran Man-hattan district attorney. A fellow prosecutor said that the motive was greed.

Related Links
Row brews over socialite’s $130m estate
Astor feud revived over 'forged will' claims
Brooke Astor

No comments: