The name Astor is associated with many things: the famous “Four Hundred” that made up old New York society; the St. Regis and Waldorf-Astoria hotels; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the New York Public Library. But not state penitentiary — which is where Brooke Astor’s son, Anthony Marshall, was sentenced yesterday to spend one to three years for appropriating millions of dollars from his mother’s $185 million estate.
This story first appeared in the December 22, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Lawyers for the 85-year-old Marshall immediately announced they will be seeking bail pending appeal.
Marshall is in ill health. He had a quadruple bypass last year and also fell and injured himself several times during the trial. Friends including Whoopi Goldberg, General Carl Mundy Jr. and Al Roker wrote letters on Marshall’s behalf asking for leniency.
The sentence is the minimum allowed under Marshall’s October conviction for grand larceny in the first degree (he was found guilty of abusing his power of attorney to grant himself a $1 million payment for managing his mother’s finances). He was also convicted on 13 other counts, ranging from conspiracy to criminal possession of stolen property. He received a one-year jail sentence for each count, to be served concurrently.
“It is a paradox to me that such abundance has led to such incredible sadness,” said Justice A. Kirke Bartley Jr. as Marshall’s wife, Charlene, teared up. “What would your mother say if she were here? Would she blanch at the spectacle? Would she ask for mercy for her only son?”
“The motivation was to provide for your wife,” he continued, before passing judgment.
Marshall, who received his sentence with little show of emotion, was not led away in shackles. He has until Jan. 19 before reporting for jail and should his appeal be granted, it may be years before he serves time.
Meanwhile, Marshall faces a civil trial that will determine the fate of Astor’s estate. Estate lawyer Francis X. Morrissey Jr., Marshall’s codefendant, also received a sentence of one to three years in prison.