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Brooke Astor Did Not Have Bugs

Her office passed a P.I. sweep.

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The father-son feud over control of Brooke Astor’s $190 million fortune is so paranoia-inducing that JPMorgan Chase, the financial guardian of her in-limbo estate, had a P.I. sweep her office for bugs. “It was like a museum; everything was preserved,” says Skipp Porteous, the gumshoe who did the housecleaning. “Like she walked out of there ten years ago and never came back.” He got the gig via another investigations firm that had been retained by Chase. The bank wanted to make sure that Astor’s son, Anthony Marshall, a veteran of the Central Intelligence Agency, hadn’t been spying on his mom (the locks were also changed). Porteous went in with his equipment one mid-morning, he remembers, and a bank rep unlocked the office. The walls were covered with photos of famous people and books Mrs. Astor wrote. Porteous checked her desk, the telephones, the cabinets. Behind the books. The verdict: “No bugs.”

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