Jury selection in Astor case to begin

Posted Feb. 18, 2009, at 9:36 p.m.
Last modified Feb. 13, 2011, at 10:46 a.m.

MOUNT DESERT, Maine — The New York trial of Anthony Marshall, the son of former Northeast Harbor summer resident Brooke Astor, is set to begin on Monday, according to CNN and the New York Daily News.

Marshall, 84, is accused of stealing millions of dollars from his wealthy mother, who died in August 2007 at the age of 105. He now owns Cove End, the $6 million waterfront estate in the village of Northeast Harbor where Astor summered for decades.

Astor’s only child, Marshall allegedly took the money from his mother after she began to suffer from dementia and he then took over her financial affairs. He has pleaded innocent in Manhattan Supreme Court to grand larceny, scheme to defraud, conspiracy, and other charges, according to New York media reports.

New York attorney Francis X. Morrisey Jr., who allegedly oversaw the legal paperwork that established Anthony Marshall as his mother’s guardian, also is facing criminal charges in the case.

The accusations have been the subject of much frenzy in the New York media, reportedly prompting tabloid headlines such as “Disaster for Mrs. Astor,” “Bad Heir Day” and “Crook Astor.”

Astor was long considered the doyenne of New York City’s high society and was known for giving away $200 million, mostly to New York institutions including the New York Public Library, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Carnegie Hall, the Bronx Zoo and the Museum of Natural History.

Astor also gave money to organizations on Mount Desert Island during her lifetime. In her will, she left tens of thousands of dollars to Northeast Harbor Library, Asticou Azalea Garden, and Saint Mary’s and Saint Jude’s Parish.

Before Astor died, her grandson, Philip Marshall, went to court in New York to have his father removed as Astor’s guardian. Philip Marshall alleged in court documents that his father was enriching himself and his wife, former local resident Charlene Marshall, while neglecting Astor’s health and well-being.

As a result of a 2006 court-ordered agreement, guardianship over Astor and her affairs was transferred from Anthony Marshall to Annette De La Renta, a longtime friend of Astor’s, and to the bank JPMorgan Chase.

The agreement also required Charlene Marshall to cede ownership of Cove End back to her husband, whom she had met in Northeast Harbor when she was married to a local Episcopal priest. In 2003, after Anthony Marshall acquired power of attorney over his mother’s assets, he had signed over ownership of Cove End first to himself and then to his wife.

The 2006 agreement also required the Marshalls to return paintings, family silver, jewelry and a 10-carat diamond ring to Astor’s estate.

Charlene Marshall is not facing charges in the case.

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