Latest Astor Battle Restages 1959 Clan Fight

Greed, coercion, and senility apparently run in the family
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 26, 2009 1:25 PM CDT
Philanthropist Brooke Astor stands in front of a portrait of her late husband, Vincent Astor, in her Park Avenue apartment in this March 15, 1992 file photo.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)
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(Newser) – New Yorkers can be forgiven for feeling a sense of déjà vu when it comes to the latest scandal involving the storied Astor fortune, the New York Times says. Tomorrow begins the criminal trial of Anthony Marshall, the son of deceased matriarch Brooke Astor whom prosecutors allege exploited her mental condition to bilk millions—claims that Astor herself weathered in 1959.

She received the bulk of a $127 million estate when her husband Vincent died, but her brother-in-law said Vincent was senile when he signed his will. Astor settled the case—and learned from it, cutting off anyone who unsuccessfully challenged her will. “It seems amazing that, half a century later, there would still be fighting over this,” said one author.