A beloved figure in New York City’s art world is at the center of a bizarre saga in which friends allege she is essentially being held captive in her own Manhattan home by her daughter. Concerns for 88-year-old Marie-Christophe de Menil’s safety were raised in a lawsuit filed earlier this month by a woman who says she worked for years as the philanthropist’s assistant and caregiver only to be falsely accused of trespassing at the home by Menil’s daughter, Taya Thurman, the half-sister of actress Uma Thurman. Alina Morini says her arrest was “planned” by Taya Thurman, who she alleges is subjecting de Menil to a “forced and ongoing isolation,” the New York Post reports. “I get calls from people close to her. They say they are cut off and concerned,” Robert Hantman, an attorney representing Morini, told the Post.
Two friends of de Menil expressed similar concerns, with one reportedly stating that de Menil’s “landline and cell phone were disabled” and that she had told him during a brief visit that she was “in jail.” Sheila Tendy, an attorney for Taya Thurman, disputed the claims, telling the Post that de Menil “is not isolated from anyone.” A statement provided to the Post on behalf of Marie-Christophe de Menil blasted Morini’s lawsuit and threw all support behind her daughter, who, the statement said, “has taken good care of me.” De Menil is said to be worth more than $100 million along with her siblings, all of whom are heirs to a massive oil fortune.