Published November 27, 2007
NEW YORK – Indictments of Brooke Astor's only son and his attorney on charges apparently stemming from their handling of the late socialite's $198 million estate were expected to be announced Tuesday, an attorney for the lawyer said.
Michael S. Ross, attorney for Francis X. Morrissey Jr., said Monday he received a telephone call from the Manhattan district attorney's office informing him of the indictments.
"He has been indicted," Ross said when asked about Morrissey.
He said the charges had not been unsealed and he didn't know what they were.
Astor's son, Broadway producer Anthony D. Marshall, and Morrissey, had been accused in a civil suit by Marshall's son of misappropriating cash, real estate, securities and other property belonging to the socialite, who died in August at age 105.
Marshall's son, Philip, prompted the criminal investigation last year after he accused his father of neglecting Astor's care and stealing her money. He said Monday he did not know his father had been indicted.
A Manhattan grand jury has heard testimony for almost a month about the district attorney's investigation of how Marshall and Morrissey managed Astor's estate and documents related to it.
Ross said Morrissey was out of town Monday and would return later in the week. He said he thought Marshall, 83, would be arraigned Tuesday.
Marshall's current lawyer, Kenneth Warner, did not immediately return a telephone message seeking comment Monday. Prosecutors declined to comment.
Philip Marshall's spokesman Frazier Seitel said his client had testified before the grand jury. Seitel said banker David Rockefeller, who had spoken out on behalf of Philip Marshall's side of the dispute, had not.
Astor, known for decades as the grande dame of New York society and philanthropy, gave away nearly $200 million to institutions such as the New York Public Library and Carnegie Hall and other causes.
In the final year of her life, the nasty family feud over her care was splashed all over the city's tabloids -- including allegations that she was forced to sleep on a couch that smelled of urine while subsisting on a diet of pureed peas and oatmeal.
Anthony Marshall is a former diplomat and producer who won Tony awards in 2003 and 2004. He had dismissed all allegations that he abused his mother's trust -- saying that he cared about her more than anyone else.