NEW YORK – The son of millionaire philanthropist Brooke Astor, sued by his own son for allegedly neglecting his 104-year-old mother, said Sunday that his accusers “have not only exercised bad manners but total disrespect and lack of decency.”

“I know that I am right and they are wrong and that the media should not assume that an accused is guilty without the opportunity to defend themselves,” Anthony Marshall said in a statement released through a spokeswoman.

Marshall, 82, said he was never notified that his mother was taken to Lenox Hill Hospital on July 24 nor that she was released from the hospital Saturday.

“I literally had to search for her,” he said. “Ultimately, I was informed by a doorman that she had been taken to Holly Hill (her Westchester County estate), where I went and was permitted to see her, although an individual stood guard over me so that I would not have a moment of privacy with her.”

Astor’s grandson, Philip Marshall, filed court papers asking that his father be removed as her guardian.

The younger Marshall said his father had denied Astor her wealthy lifestyle while using his role as legal guardian to take millions of dollars.

“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,” he said in an affidavit.

Astor’s nurses, the papers allege, had to use their own money to buy hair bonnets and no-skid socks for her when requests for the items were denied.

A French chef was fired, leaving her at the mercy of an “unmotivated cook” serving pureed peas, liver, carrots and oatmeal, they add.

Astor’s close friend Annette de la Renta, wife of fashion designer Oscar de la Renta, has been appointed Astor’s temporary legal guardian while a court decides who will become her permanent caregiver.

In his statement, Anthony Marshall named de la Renta, Henry Kissinger and David Rockefeller as “those who have associated their names with the action taken against me and my wife, Charlene.”

“None of them, nor my son, Philip, ever contacted me to express their concerns before the action was released, which I first learned about by chance,” he said.

Fraser Seitel, a spokesman for de la Renta and for Rockefeller, said they became involved in the legal action “for only one reason, to ensure that this woman who is their friend and who has meant so much to them and to so many others for such a long time be accorded the treatment that she deserves.”

The case has made daily headlines in New York newspapers for a week and made Astor’s health the talk of the town.

Astor, long considered the grande dame of Manhattan society, 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.

Seitel said that, like Marshall, de la Renta and Rockefeller regret the publicity but they are relieved that Astor’s medical condition has improved and that she is at Holly Hill, her 75-acre estate in Briarcliff Manor.

According to the court papers filed by Philip Marshall, Anthony Marshall had confined his mother to her Park Avenue apartment.

A hearing in the guardianship case was set for Aug. 8.



Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.