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Son of NYC benefactor Astor denies abusing her

New York City benefactor Brooke Astor’s son Anthony Marshall denied that he was abusing his mother, claiming to spend $2.5 million on her per year while maintaining a full time staff of eight.
Brooke Astor, the 104-year-old Manhattan socialite, now wears torn nightgowns and sleeps on a filthy couch — all while her son withholds money and proper medical care, her grandson charges in court papers filed last week.Serge J-f. Levy / AP file
/ Source: The Associated Press

The son of philanthropist Brooke Astor said he was stunned by allegations that he abused his ailing 104-year-old mother.

“I love my mother, and no one cares more about her than I do,” Anthony Marshall, 82, said in a statement Thursday.

Marshall, a former diplomat and Broadway producer who is now his mother’s legal guardian, claimed the family spends more than $2.5 million a year to care for Astor at her Park Avenue duplex. She “has a staff of eight with instructions to provide her with whatever she needs and whatever they think she should have,” he said.

In court papers filed last week, Astor’s grandson accused Marshall, his father, of denying Astor the usual luxuries of a wealthy woman “while enriching himself with millions of dollars” as her legal guardian.

“Her bedroom is so cold in the winter that my grandmother is forced to sleep in the TV room in torn nightgowns on a filthy couch that smells, probably from dog urine,” Philip Marshall said in an affidavit.

He claims his father denied Astor hair bonnets and no-skid socks — leaving nurses to spend their own money on the items — and left her with an “unmotivated cook” serving pureed peas, liver, carrots and oatmeal.

‘Shocked and deeply hurt’
The court papers seek to replace Anthony Marshall as Astor’s guardian with Annette de la Renta, her close friend and the wife of designer Oscar de la Renta, and J.P. Morgan Chase bank. A hearing was scheduled for Aug. 8.

“I am shocked and deeply hurt by the allegations against me, which are completely untrue,” Anthony Marshall said.

Fraser Seitel, a spokesman for Annette de la Renta, confirmed late Thursday that Astor was at Lenox Hill Hospital in stable condition but declined to give further information.

Anthony Marshall and his wife visited Astor there Thursday evening. Speaking to reporters afterward, Marshall said he was “very touched and encouraged by the fact that my mother’s present state of age has brought attention to the need for care of elderly people.”

Astor ran the Astor Foundation after the death of her third husband, Vincent Astor, in 1959. The foundation gave away approximately $200 million by the time it closed at the end of 1997. Vincent Astor was the great-great-grandson of John Jacob Astor, who made a fortune in fur trading and real estate and was once the wealthiest man in America.

Philip Marshall’s cousin Richard Cryan told The New York Times in Friday’s editions that Philip Marshall “is not an individual motivated by greed.”

“He is a college professor and not money-oriented,” Cryan said. “I accept on face value that this is motivated by his concerns about the well-being of his grandmother.”