Helmsley…hmmm, Helmsley… Wasn’t she the one well known as being a *word that rhymes with witch*? File this one under: “confirmed.”
“Queen Of Mean” Leaves $12 Million To Her Dog
Wednesday August 29, 2007
She was known as the “Queen of Mean”, a woman who spent her wealth on herself but wasn’t known to share her largesse with her workers or family. But it appears she did have a soft spot for dogs. The billionaire left her pooch a $12 million trust fund.
When Leona Helmsley died earlier this month, there weren’t a lot of mourners. You may remember her name. Helmsley and her husband made a fortune in real estate and the hotel business. But employees who toiled for the couple claimed they were terribly abused by the pair. And Helmsely’s disregard of the rules led to her famous 1989 conviction on tax evasion charges. An employee testified overhearing the matron claim “only little people pay taxes.” She always denied it, but the statement followed her through an 18-month jail sentence and the remainder of her life.
So when the tough-as-nails businesswoman died on August 20th, no one knew quite what to expect in her will. But even veteran observers were stunned when its contents were revealed on Tuesday. Helmsely left her white Maltese named “Trouble” $12 million, to assure the animal would live in comfort for the rest of its life.
She also bequeathed millions for her brother, who was named a caregiver for the dog. And two of her grandchildren will get to keep $5 million each – but only if they visit their father’s gravesite once a year. Miss a turn and they lose everything. Two other grandchildren got absolutely nothing from the bizarre woman, for “reasons that are known to them,” she wrote.
Trouble’s fortunes won’t be over even after her life ends. “I direct that when my dog, Trouble, dies, her remains shall be buried next to my remains in the Helmsley mausoleum,” she ordered. And she left another $3 million to ensure that final resting place is well maintained, including money for a yearly wash or steam-cleaning.
But lest you think the Queen of Mean was all bad, there was some good in the woman. She bequeathed a $100,000 thank you gift to her chauffeur. And the couple’s considerable real estate holdings and belongings – said to be worth billions – will be sold and the profits given to a charitable trust in the infamous duo’s name.
Photo credit: Keith Bedford/Getty Images