09 September 2008

Dog Inherits $14 Million

The pet dog of billionaire hotelier Leona Helmsley has been bequeathed $14.6 million in the will of the woman dubbed the "Queen of Mean". Trouble, a tiny Maltese terrier, received the enormous trust fund after Helmsley, who died at the age of 87, cut two of her grandchildren out of her $US4 billion fortune. The trust fund was created to care for the beloved dog, who once starred in advertisements for the Helmsley Hotels.

The luxury hotel queen even stipulated Trouble be buried beside her and her husband Harry in a five-star mausoleum that will be maintained with a $3 million perpetual-care trust. Helmsley also set aside billions for charity and loved ones in a will made public yesterday in Manhattan Surrogate's Court. But the dog received the lion's share of the fortune. The next largest sum - $10 million - was left to Helmsley's brother Alvin Rosenthal.

The will meticulously detailed how Helmsley and Trouble were to spend the afterlife - in an ornate mausoleum she ordered be "acid washed or steam-cleaned at least once a year". Trouble will be cared for by Mr Rosenthal until she dies. Then, she will join her loving mistress, who in her later years rarely appeared in public without Trouble at her side.

"I direct that when my dog, Trouble, dies, her remains shall be buried next to my remains in the Helmsley Mausoleum," the billionairess stipulated in her will. While Trouble gained a huge bonanza, two of Helmsley's grandchildren were left out of the mountain of money accumulated by the woman Forbes magazine lastyear ranked as the world's 369th richest person.

"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," she wrote. The two outcasts are among the four children born to Helmsley's only son, Jay Panzirer, who died in 1982. The others, David and Walter Panzirer, will get $5 million each - but only if they play by their grandmother's strict rules.

Helmsley said neither would get a cent unless they visited their father's grave once a year, "preferably on the anniversary of my said son's death". To make sure her grandsons meet their annual requirement, Helmsley ordered a guest book be installed inside the family mausoleum at Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in New York. Helmsley also left $100,000 to her chauffeur Nicholas Celea.

[Source: The Daily Telegraph]