The Associated Press reports today that Leona Helmsley, the billionaire who became notorious in the 1980s for saying "Only the little people pay taxes," and who died earlier this month, has left $12 million to her dog.
Helmsley’s will, made public yesterday, leaves $12 million to Trouble, a white Maltese, and directs that when Trouble dies, she is to be buried next to Helmsley in the Helmsley mausoleum. Helmsley left most of her assets to the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, but the dog’s trust fund is the largest single bequest Helmsley made to any individual. She left $5 million each to her brother (who was named the dog’s caretaker) and two of her four grandchildren, so long as they visit their father’s grave once a year. (The need for that requirement suggests this was a very close-knit family.) If they don’t, they lose everything.
Any angst they may feel at getting less than half what the dog did may be tempered by the knowledge that the two other grandchildren got nothing at all. Helmsley wrote that she was stiffing those two for "reasons that are known to them."
Those must have been pretty good reasons, because Helmsley was still worth billions at the time of her death, and coughed up not only $12 million for the dog but $3 million for the upkeep of the Helmsley mausoleum, which is to be "washed or steam-cleaned at least once a year." I guess that leaves the door open to any of you who would like to steam-clean the Helmsley mausoleum more often than that.
Helmsley also left her chauffeur a hundred grand.