June 21, 2013

Brooke Astor

Brooke Astor

I imagine his favorite thing to do is sit around and read.
It’s the same with his wife. They have very moderate tastes. Any outsider should be able to figure that out. Look at his background and guess how much he craves a luxurious life. He’s not Liberace. He’s Patton. You could give them both ten million dollars and it would just sit there. Actually, it would go to paying off their debts from this case.

So he had no interest in his mother’s estate?
Here’s the thing people don’t understand about Brooke Astor’s estate. It’s not a big bag of gold that’s sitting there waiting to be stolen. It’s an estate. Think of it as a corporation. The allocations of what goes where was [sic] set in stone long before Brooke died. Everybody who knew her knew where the money was going. As she famously put it, “Money is like manure; it’s not worth a thing unless it’s spread around.”

So how did Phillip Marshall get access to it?
He didn’t. I believe [he] was flimflammed by David Rockefeller. Phillip got maybe a million dollars, which is roughly what he was originally allocated. That’s what I meant by “set in stone.” You can’t “get” it. It’s spoken for. That’s the way estates work.

But it’s substantially smaller now.
Yes, a person can’t get it, but the government can intervene if there are accusations of wrongdoing. They can’t take the money, but”€”and I didn’t realize this was possible before this case”€”they can find ways to siphon it. David Rockefeller and Phillip Marshall managed to force the estate into escrow while this so-called malfeasance was being investigated. It sat with CHASE Bank (which is owned by the Rockefellers), and the lawyers picked at it until the full $160 million was all but gone.

What do you mean “all but gone”?
When Tony was replaced by CHASE Bank as executor, CHASE used the estate itself to pay their lawyers to defend the estate. How is this legal? Tony ran that estate for 50 years and grew it from around $20 million…to over $80 million when he was ousted. (The $160 million comes from selling all her property and belongings.) CHASE took it over and by the time they were done, it was virtually worthless. The money still went to charity as was always the plan, but they got substantially less than they were originally meant to under Tony. I think the Met and the New York Public Library got about $20 million each. They were meant to get roughly twice that. As usual with these things, the lawyers are the only ones who win. Tony is just one of many victims here. Brooke Astor would be disgusted if she saw what happened to her charity. Very powerful people created a fake story and used that as a distraction while they essentially stole money from the benefactors of the estate, and again, that does not include Tony.

How much was he supposed to get?
I’ve heard hundreds of millions, but the entire estate was only worth about $160 million total. Originally, he was supposed to get it all and dole it out to the appropriate charities and continue to manage the estate. His actual take-home inheritance would still only be in the $10 to $20 million range. Not that he cared. This is the founding chairman of the Marine Corps University Foundation. What he cares about is honor and legacy. That’s what’s so heartbreaking about this whole thing.

But the truth has to come out at some point.
It will, but Tony is already finished. The journalists who failed to do their jobs won’t have to pay. They’ll just move on like the vultures they are. Tony wrote a book that chronicles the entire story from top to bottom. I believe the working title is Framed.

Where is it?
It was meant to be published by Simon & Schuster, but guess who owns their finances? CHASE. And my understanding is they were explicitly told to can the book or face the consequences. The book will come out eventually, however. John Steinbeck IV’s wife Nancy is interested. I just hope Tony’s alive to see it happen.

How’s he doing?
Terrible. I was worried he was going to kill himself. I was worried his wife would do the same. They fought a good fight for seven years, but this kind of thing usurps your will to live. Eventually the bastards get you down. In that sense, he’s already been given the death penalty.

It’s infuriating.
I couldn’t go to the sentencing because I knew I would get arrested. I want to fight them all.



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