February 17, 2018

Astor Settlement Benefits NYPL

The five year dispute over the estate of Brooke Astor has been settled, according to the Wall Street Journal. Among the beneficiaries will be the New York Public Library (NYPL), to the tune of about $15 million.

Westchester County Surrogate Judge Anthony Scarpino signed the agreement on March 28, and State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced the details.

The dispute between Astor’s son, grandson, and several New York charities, hinged on which of several wills reflected her true intentions, according to Businessweek.

The settlement is based on a 2002 will, and allocates just under one quarter of the funds for charity to the Library. (Codicils which would have given more to Astor’s son were ignored. In 2009 he was convicted of taking advantage of his mother’s dementia, including by changing her will.)

The current size of the estate was not disclosed, but in 2007, the year Astor died, it was estimated at $198 million.

Astor served as a trustee of the NYPL for 50 years.  NYPL President Anthony Marx said in a statement, “The gift the Library receives will be used for reading and literacy programs for disadvantaged children in New York City, for the research and branch libraries, and for the creation and maintenance of a room in the names of James Lenox and John Jacob Astor, in accordance with Brooke Astor’s wishes.”

The settlement also enables the delayed distribution of the Vincent Astor Trust, valued at approximately $50 million, of which the NYPL is one of many beneficiaries.

The Morgan Library and Museum will also receive a gift of four percent of the base amount allocated to charity.

Meredith Schwartz About Meredith Schwartz

Meredith Schwartz (mschwartz@mediasourceinc.com) is Executive Editor of Library Journal.