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.
Marshall, 82, said he was never notified that his mother was taken to Lenox Hill Hospital last Monday nor that she was released from the hospital Saturday.
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 added.
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.
The case has made daily headlines in New York newspapers for a week.
Long considered the grande dame of Manhattan society, Astor 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.