Oddly Enough

Helmsley leaves $12 million for her dog

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Real estate billionaire Leona Helmsley left $12 million in her will for her dog Trouble but cut out two of her four grandchildren entirely.

Real estate baroness Leona Helmsley appears for court to fight a former hotel manager's charges that she discriminates against homosexuals in New York on January 21, 2003. Helmsley left $12 million in her will for her dog Trouble but cut out two of her four grandchildren entirely. REUTERS/Chip East

Helmsley, the “Queen of Mean” who was famously quoted as saying “only the little people pay taxes” before going to jail for tax evasion, died August 20 at 87.

The 14-page will was made public in Surrogate’s Court on Tuesday and reported in New York media on Wednesday, with the New York Post headlining the story “Rich bitch,” referring to the female dog.

Trouble, a white Maltese, will be cared for by Helmsley’s brother Alvin Rosenthal, who was left $10 million.

Two grandchildren, David and Walter Panzirer, will be left $5 million each as long as they visit their father’s grave at least once a year -- Helmsley’s son, Jay Panzirer, died in 1982 -- and her chauffeur will get $100,000.

“I have not made any provisions in this will for my grandson Craig Panzirer or my granddaughter Meegan Panzirer for reasons which are known to them,” Helmsley wrote.

The will calls for Trouble to be entombed alongside Helmsley and husband Harry Helmsley, who died in 1997, in their $1.4 million mausoleum, for which Leona Helmsley set aside $3 million for upkeep including annual cleanings.

A spokesman for Helmsley declined to comment on the will.

Helmsley was convicted of evading $1.7 million in taxes in 1989 and served 18 months in federal prison.

At trial a former housekeeper recounted that Helmsley had once told her: “We don’t pay taxes. Only little people pay taxes.” Helmsley denied making the statement.

Much of her estimated $4 billion fortune is tied up in Helmsley Enterprises, which will be controlled by five people, Walter and David Panzirer, Rosenthal, Helmsley’s lawyer and a Helmsley adviser, the New York Post reported. Other proceeds from the sale of her estate are destined for a charitable trust.