HEIR OF THE DOG: LEONA WILLS $12M TO A POOCH
BUT NOTHING TO 2 GRANDKIDS
August 29, 2007 -- Trouble took a $12 million bite out of Leona Helmsley's will.
While the Queen of Mean left a kennel full of cash for the plenty-pampered female pooch, she also left potentially billions of dollars to charity, court papers show.
The will leaves a total of $50 million in bequests to Trouble the dog and three family members, and instructs that the remainder of her personal fortune - which Westchester Surrogate's Court documents estimate to be valued at between $4 billion and $8 billion - to the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust.
Helmsley didn't completely turn over a new leaf in her later years, however - two of the family members to whom she left bequests were left less than Trouble, and she pointedly excluded two of her grandkids, Craig and Meegan Panzirer, "for reasons which are known to them," the filing says.
None of her 12 great-grandchildren is mentioned at all.
The only nonfamily member to whom Helmsley left cash was her chauffeur, Nicholas Celea of Woodside, Queens. She left him $100,000 if he "survives me and at the time of my death is employed by me or any Helmsley entity."
The 87-year-old Helmsley - whose love of the finer things in life was legendary - also left $3 million to en sure a first-class afterlife with her late husband, Harry.
"I acknowledge in this will, as I often did during my life, my love, affection and admiration for my late husband, Harry B. Helmsley. I direct that I be interred wearing my gold wedding band (which is never to be removed from my finger) and my remains be interred next to my beloved husband . . . and next to my beloved son, Jay Panzirer, at the Helmsley Mausoleum," the document says. That tomb is in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Westchester.
"I also direct that anything bearing the Helmsley name must be maintained in 'mint' condition and in the manner that it has been accustomed to, maintaining the outstanding Helmsley reputation."
HEIR OF THE DOG: LEONA WILLS $12M TO A POOCH | By DAREH GREGORIAN and BRADEN KEIL | New York News | New York City News | NY News