Socialite Brooke Astor saved by New York courts

Socialite Brooke Astor’s son Anthony Marshall has been replaced as guardian of his mother’s affairs by Astor’s longtime friend Annette de la Renta and JPMorgan Chase & Co., settling a lawsuit charging Marshall neglected his ailing mum.

New York Supreme Court Judge John E.H. Stackhouse said the 104-year-old Astor was suffering from “dementia and physical frailness” that means Astor is incapable of basic personal care and financial decisions.

“I find by clear and convincing evidence that Brooke Astor is in need of guardians to her person and her property,” Stackhouse told the courtroom which included de la Renta and lawyers for JPMorgan, Marshall and his son Philip Marshall.

Stackhouse said JPMorgan, the third-biggest U.S. bank, would serve as permanent guardian of Astor’s property, which he valued in excess of $45 million while de la Renta, wife of clothing designer Oscar de la Renta, would serve as permanent guardian of Astor’s personal affairs.

Philip Marshall, filed a lawsuit against his Dad in July stating his father had neglected his grandmother and enriched himself at her expense.

De la Renta, took the stand briefly at today’s hearing to describe her relationship with Astor. “I have known Mrs. Astor for over approximately forty years,” she said. “She was a friend of my parents when I was young, almost a lifetime.”

“We remained very close friends,” de la Renta said. “We did a lot of things together in Manhattan because we served on a lot of boards.”

Anthony Marshall released his own statement. “I am pleased that these proceedings, which have been so destructive to my family and my mother’s memory, are over…Under the terms of the settlement, there will be no litigation during my mother’s life. I am sure she would be pleased with that outcome.”

Brooke Astor, an honorary chairman of the New York Public Library, was bequeathed $60 million by third husband Vincent Astor and has given millions to institutions such as the New York Public Library and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.


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