How the Other Half Dies
The Times yesterday posted actual images of Brooke Astor’s now-to-be-contested will, so we can have a bit of fun. The biggest and most entertaining details have been out there before — some sculptures for some Rockefellers, a few hundred grand for an azalea garden in Maine — but there is still an embarrassment of riches in the actual text itself. After the jump, a post-mortem look at how the other half lives and contemplates death. (We bolded the parts we think are just chahming.)
today in astor-ia
So Maybe Brooke Astor’s Son Didn’t Actually Leave Her Destitute
Today’s Times indulges one of our favorite pastimes — counting other people’s money — with a piece detailing the twelve-page audit report of Brooke Astor’s riches. The numbers come from the fortune’s court-appointed guardian, JPMorgan Chase. One unexpected side effect of the list: It makes Brooke Astor’s disgraced son, Anthony D. Marshall, look like a pretty sensible handler of his mother’s money. (Marshall claims to have quadrupled Astor’s liquid assets over the last 25 years.)
How does Mrs. Astor’s $131 million kitty break down?
today in astor-ia
Brooke Astor’s Kid Gets Ready to RuuuumbleDid you think the Astor family saga was finally effectively over? Us too. In fact, we were thinking about retiring that Today in Astor-ia tag and launching into a full-on obsession with the Aokis. But not so fast, it turns out.
Earlier this month, Brooke Astor’s son and heir Anthony Marshall, along with his wife Charlene, reluctantly agreed to give up running Brooke’s affairs and return about $1.3 million in disputed money. That seemed to be the end of them, for a while. But now they’re back, distributing morbid hints that they’ll be around for good, and soon. “There will be a battle royal when Brooke Astor dies,” Charlene informs the new Vanity Fair. The whistle-blowing grandson, Philip, notes dryly that now that Brooke is out of Marshalls’ care, her death is not quite as imminent as it was. Still, the Loathsome Couple appears content to lie in wait, expecting to receive everything they gave up (and more) when the will is read.
Of course, speaking of the will, a big juicy part of the scandal is an investigation into whether someone had altered it and/or forged Brooke Astor’s signature on one of its provisions. In short, it ain’t over till it’s over — and not even then.
Astor Kin Ready to Rumble [NYDN]
today in astor-ia
A Grand, Astorian Finale?Is there a settlement afoot in the convoluted real-life telenovela starring Brooke Astor, her son, his son, Annette de la Renta, Henry Kissinger, J.P. Morgan Chase, a laid-off butler in Maine, and a chorus of lawyers? Perhaps yes.
There’s a hearing this afternoon, and the parties are expected to submit a settlement agreement, eliminating the need for a trial, which was set to start next week, according to the Times. Astor’s son, Anthony Marshall, will step down from running her business and personal affairs, and two guardians will take over, according to the report. (This is, keep in mind, exactly what her grandson, Philip Marshall, had requested when he started the whole messiness.) And why is Anthony suddenly agreeing to this? Because Chase will agree not to sue him for the millions of dollars he may (or may not!) have skimmed from his mom.
And everyone will live happily ever after — not least the rest of us, who got to learn all about Maine estates, Childe Hassam paintings, and urine-soaked couches. Yay, voyeuristic thrills!
Settlement Expected In Dispute Over Astor Matriarch [NYT]
The Family Astor [NYM]