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Leona Helmsley's Trust Is Not Going To The Dogs

leona helmsley

A note to all animal loving millionaires and billionaires… give your money to animal charities before you die. Just sayin’.

— Kenn

She was known as New York City’s “Queen of Mean“. Yet she had a real soft spot for dogs.

When Leona Helmsley, the woman who managed the most prestigious addresses in New York City including the Empire State Building, died in 2007, the Helmsley Foundation provided for a part of her $450 million estate to benefit animal welfare.

To date, only $100,000 has been distributed to animal welfare organizations.

Helmsley’s mission statement directed funds to be given “to purposes related to the care of dogs.” The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the Humane Society of the United States, Maddie’s Fund, and other groups say the low amount is against the wishes of Helmsley’s mission statement and what she would have wanted. Wayne Pacelle, president of the HSUS stated the money distributed so far was “a trifling amount and contrary to Leona Helmsley’s personal intentions.”

Maddie’s Fund president, Rich Aranzino stated, “The money has the potential to change everything for man’s best friend.”

Manhattan Surrogate Court Judge Nora Anderson struck down the requests of the animal organizations to be involved in the distribution of the funds, and said they had no standing to intervene in the estate’s decision as to how the money was distributed, and that the trustees have sole discretion. Judge Anderson ruled that Helmsley didn’t designate a specific amount and technically the trustees have not violated any of the provisions.

When Helmsley died, the 87 year-old left her white Maltese dog, labeled by the media as “a rich bitch”, a trust fund of $12 million and directed that the notoriously nasty little dog be cared for by two of her relatives. A judge however, reduced the trust fund to $2 million and both relatives refused to take custody of the dog.

The dog, named Trouble, now lives in Florida with one of Helmsley’s past employees.

The animal welfare organizations meanwhile, have stated they will continue to fight.

Story By Elaine Furst For Dog Files

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Dolivier27
Dolivier27
10 years ago

It’s amazing how someone’s last wishes, even in writing can be disputed. Whether you agree with her or not, her intentions were for her dog and it’s caretakers to be well-comped and for the remainder to go to charities benefiting the welfare of dogs. Period. The end. And shame on her relatives for thinking 2 million was not enough.

Dolivier27
Dolivier27
10 years ago

It’s amazing how someone’s last wishes, even in writing can be disputed. Whether you agree with her or not, her intentions were for her dog and it’s caretakers to be well-comped and for the remainder to go to charities benefiting the welfare of dogs. Period. The end. And shame on her relatives for thinking 2 million was not enough.

Debs
Debs
10 years ago

I’m sure the little dog is much happier with the former employee than with those nasty relatives anyways. But how can a Judge over ride a specific dollar amount in a will? Shame on the Judge and shame on the people who requested. Greedy gits is what they are.

Michael Haslam
10 years ago

Were the trustees appointed by her or the lawyers? Sounds very corrupt. The legal system is so anti dog it’s scandalous.

Cscott
Cscott
10 years ago

Humans can be despicable. What is the point in even having a will if your last wishes are never enforced?

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