Leona Helmsley and her
Photo Credit: Guest of a Guest
In this country you should be able to leave your money to a rock collection, if that is what you want to do after death; after all, it is your money. However, you are still subject to people's opinions based on your actions; and I have to say, Leona Helmsley wasn't just a stupid, evil woman in life, she continued that reputation in death.
Here's the story:
Leona Helmsley's dog will continue to live an opulent life, and then be buried alongside her in a mausoleum. But two of Helmsley's grandchildren got nothing from the late luxury hotelier and real estate billionaire's estate.
Helmsley left her beloved white Maltese, named Trouble, a $12 million trust fund, according to her will, which was made public Tuesday in surrogate court.
She also left millions for her brother, Alvin Rosenthal, who was named to care for Trouble in her absence, as well as two of four grandchildren from her late son Jay Panzirer -- so long as they visit their father's grave site once each calendar year.
Leona Helmsley and her dog Trouble photographed in Leona Helmsley's Park Lane Hotel apartment. Helmsley left her beloved white Maltese, named Trouble, a $12 million trust fund.
Otherwise, she wrote, neither will get a penny of the $5 million she left for each.
Your life has to be pretty shabby not to leave something to your own flesh and blood, Leona left nothing to two of Jay Panzirer's other children -- Craig and Meegan Panzirer -- for ''reasons that are known to them,'' she wrote. I guess we should feel sorry for her that she ended her life bitter and unforgiving, whatever her grandchildren did.
'The Queen of Mean'' died up to her reputation. With all the suffering and misery in the world, this is how she wanted to be remembered, giving millions to a dog who would be just as happy with a $12 doggy bone.
I know that when all her holdings are liquidated, billions will go to the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust. But people will only remember the 12 million dollar dog. Besides, I suspect the trust's mission is probably to help billionaires evade paying taxes.
Of course, we may have to take into consideration that the dog deserves every penny, 12 mil may not be enough compensation to live with such a sorry-ass woman.
It should be noted that perhaps this is Karma: Harry left a fortune to a bitch and now Leona has done likewise for hers. Such is life.
I wonder if Trouble can now afford to personally sue Michael Vick for all the nasty things he did to pooches these past few months? And yes, there are lawyers who specialize in pet trusts: see pet lawyer Rachel Hirschfeld. When asked about it, Hirschfeld wasn't stunned by Helmsley's huge act of animal generosity. "It's not an outrageous amount... if her estate is $8 billion, then this is a fraction of 1 percent," said Hirschfeld.
Update: Like Owner, like dog: Ex-Helmsley housekeeper Zamfira Sfara says $12 million pooch Trouble bit her.
The Romanian housekeeper, who worked in Helmsley's posh apartment in the Helmsley Park Lane Hotel, described the lavish life the 8-year-old Maltese shared with Helmsley.
The hotel queen, who died last week at age 87, showered love and money on the furball, who snagged the largest individual trust from her fortune, which is worth at least $4 billion. Helmsley.believed her late husband, Harry, communicated with her through the dog.
"I never saw a human being so in love with an animal," said Sfara, 48. "They were always together everywhere."
Helmsley even shared her double king-size bed with Trouble, Sfara said, and lots of kisses.
"She would lick the dog tongue to tongue," she said. "It was unnatural. It was unhealthy."
So it didn't surprise the maid that her old boss left $12 million to the pet while disowning two grandchildren she had feuded with for years.
"Leona wanted everybody to love her, but she knew nobody loved her," Sfara said. "This dog replaced that love."
Trouble was dressed in pricey outfits and sported a diamond collar. The dog's chef-prepared meals - steamed vegetables and steamed or grilled chicken and fish - arrived in porcelain bowls on a silver tray.
"The chef would have to leave all the [hotel] customers to make Trouble's food," Sfara said. "After it was mixed, I would have to get down on my knees and feed the dog with my two fingers."
Trouble, apparently, didn't appreciate Helmsley's hired help.
"Everybody was bitten: bodyguards, the head of security, even customers got bitten," said Sfara, who sued Helmsley in 2005 after, she said, Trouble bit her.
"You'd never know when she would bite you," she said. "One time when she bit me, she was chewing on my fingers, and Leona said, 'Good for you, Trouble, she deserved it.' "
Ahhh, the life of a dog.
Leona Helmsley's dog meant more to her than grandkids
Mean until the end, and even in the afterlife. The poster girl for the rich and smug, Leona Helmsley, has bequeathed her dog a fortune, cutting out two of her grandchildren in her will.
The dog will continue to live an opulent life, and then be buried alongside her in a luxury mausoleum.