Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Was Brooke Astor's Office Bugged?

Last fall I received a call for technical surveillance countermeasures at an office on Park Avenue. The office belonged to Brooke Astor, who died on August 13, 2007 at the age of 105.

Of course, Mrs. Astor, 104 at the time, wasn't there when I went to her office. In fact, it looked like she hadn't stepped foot in there for many years. The almost-quaint office had all sorts of Astor memorabilia, photos on the walls of exotic places, and several dusty books that Brooke Astor had written.

I got the call to sweep the office right after Astor's grandson, Philip Marshall, sued his father, Anthony Marshall, for neglecting to care for his mother while allegedly trying to help himself to some of her wealth.

The court put JPMorgan Chase in charge of Brooke Astor's financial affairs. It was through JPMorgan Chase that I was brought in to sweep the office for listening devices or phone taps. That office, apparently, handled some of her financial affairs.

Before Anthony Marshall became a Broadway producer, he was employed by the CIA. I have no idea whether he had the knowledge to bug an office or tap a phone, or whether the financial overseers at JPMorgan Chase were even worried about him. When I do these jobs, I just do my job and don't ask many questions.

The office was clean; I found nothing unusual. Just another routine job.

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