Sunday, 7 October 2007

Queen of Mean


Leona Helmsley died last week at the age of 87. Her dog Trouble will continue to live an opulent life after being left a $12 million (£6m) trust fund in her owner's will. She will eventually be buried with her in the Helmsley mausoleum in Connecticut. Helsmley ordered in her will that: “The mausoleum must be washed or steam-cleaned at least once a year.” She left behind $3 million for the upkeep of her final resting place in Westchester County, where she is buried with her husband Harry.A hatter's daughter from Brooklyn, Leona became the second wife of Harry Helmsley, the "King Kong of Big Apple real estate", in 1972 and upon his death inherited his billion dollar fortune. She became known as a symbol of 1980s greed and earned the nickname "the Queen of Mean" after her 1988 indictment and subsequent conviction for tax evasion. One employee had quoted her as snarling, "Only the little people pay taxes." She left two of her four grand children out of her will but her chauffeur was left $100,000. But no one made out better than Trouble, who once appeared in ads for the Helmsley Hotels, and lived up to her name by biting housekeepers and members of Leona’s staff. Trouble made their lives miserable. One housekeeper quoted : "Leona wanted everybody to love her, but she knew nobody did. This dog replaced that love." Helmsley even shared her double king-size bed with Trouble who was often dressed in pricey outfits and sported a diamond collar. The dog's chef prepared meals of steamed vegetables and steamed or grilled chicken and fish which were served in porcelain bowls on a silver tray. Helmsley had a minimum of 12 pictures of herself with Trouble in every room and she believed her late husband, Harry, communicated with her through the dog.

9 comments:

Flowerpot said...

what an amazing story, ED, but how sad...

VioletsVintage said...

wow, this is the first time I ever wished I was a dog!

jmb said...

Who will Trouble leave her millions to? I'm sure Leona thought of that however.

Winchester whisperer said...

Well Trouble had better start mating quickly...

Hannah Velten said...

Hi Eurodog
I read about Trouble in the papers - wonder if he misses his owner?
Thanks for visiting my site. To answer your question, I used to live in Cornwall, between Falmouth and Truro, and while I was there I did some research at the Record Office in Truro and came across some diaries written in 1860s - the novel is loosely based on these. I can see you are well travelled - Belgium, Cornwall and Sussex in the pics....

Eurodog said...

HV,
Thanks for dropping by.
I live in Brussels, I am Belgian and spend a lot of time in Cornwall.

Ellee said...

It's hard to know how to comment to this, it is just so extraordinary.

Rebecca Taunton said...

Like the story ED. In a way I felt quite sad reading this, after all doesn't everyone want to be loved? It sounds like her personality meant she was unlikeable by humans, so she transferred all of her affection to the dog.

Trouble is going to have a very comfortable life, to say the least,but I think it would have been better for the money to have been given to charity.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

The woman must have been incredibly lonely, really. Perhaps she just decided to leave her money to those who really cared about her.