NYC CHARITIES TO RECEIVE $100 MILLION FROM ASTOR ESTATE SETTLEMENT

A number of high profile New York cultural organizations became a lot richer Wednesday.

A settlement in the long battle over the estate of Brooke Astor, the legendary New York philanthropist who died in 2007 at age 105, has been reached, according to Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman. As a result, $100 million of the late Ms. Astor’s estate will be released to its intended charities.

The agreement provides millions in new funds for Central and Prospect Parks; a number of local playgrounds; the Wildlife Conservation Society; Carnegie Hall; the Brooklyn Museum; Rockefeller University; the Morgan Library & Museum; and New York University.

The two largest beneficiaries are the New York Public Library and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Anthony Marx, president of the Public Library, said the gift would be used for reading and literacy programs for disadvantaged children, 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 Astor’s wishes.

“We are immensely grateful that her charitable intentions will be honored, and her dreams for the library can be realized,” Mr. Marx said in a statement.

The settlement also calls for the use of $30 million to establish a new education fund, used to make grants over a five-year period to improve education in New York City. An existing nonprofit will be chosen to administer the fund by the estate and the Office of the Attorney General.

The settlement, ratified on Wednesday in Westchester County Surrogate’s Court, also cut in half the inheritance of Astor’s only child, Anthony D. Marshall, who was convicted three years ago of stealing from her in her final years of life. Mr. Marshall, who was convicted in State Supreme Court of defrauding his mother, will receive $14.5 million.

The settlement is based on Astor’s 2002 will and gives no effect to two later amendments beneficial to Mr. Marshall.

“Brooke Astor was at the center of New York philanthropy for nearly half a century,” Attorney General Schneiderman said in a statement. “I am pleased that my office led the way to an agreement that honors Mrs. Astor’s final wishes and benefits New York’s landmark educational and cultural institutions.”

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