Wednesday, December 12, 2012

December 12: Leona Helmsley

On this date in History .... 1989:

“Queen of Mean” Leona Helmsley, famous for the line  “only the little people pay taxes” was sentenced to 4 yrs in prison, 750 hrs of community service & $7.1 tax fraud fine.  A hotel housekeeper testified that Helmsley  had been overheard making the ‘little people’ statement but Helmsley denied it was ever said. 

Her only son died at the age of 42.  Soon after, Helmsley issued her son’s widow an eviction notice from the property that Helmsley owned, and sued her son’s estate, eventually being awarded almost $150,000.  The widow and mother of four children reported the legal expenses “wiped her out”.

She would buy thousands of dollars worth of jewelry but insist the empty boxes be shipped to her home in Connecticut so she could avoid paying sales tax. She was severely hated by her employees and many were very happy to watch her in legal trouble.

In her will, she left millions to dogs while denying any inheritance to two grandchildren “for reasons that are known to them.”   It is rumored but unconfirmed that they were omitted from the will because they didn’t name any of their children after Leona’s husband.

A judge overrode the will, ruling Helmsley unfit, mentally, when she signed the will, and gave the two grandchildren $6million while cutting the dog’s share from $12million to $2million.


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