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Trustees Begin to Parcel Leona Helmsley’s Estate


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Published: April 22, 2009

The first $136 million from the hotelier Leona Helmsley’s disputed multibillion-dollar estate has been distributed, trustees announced on Tuesday, but the bulk went to medical centers instead of dogs.

Only $1 million of the estate, valued at about $5 billion, was donated to the care of dogs, which Mrs. Helmsley had designated as her primary beneficiary.

“This is a trifling and embarrassingly small amount,” said Wayne Pacelle, president of the Humane Society of the United States. “Mrs. Helmsley’s wishes are clearly being subverted.”

After Mrs. Helmsley’s death in 2007, it was revealed that she had drafted a mission statement four years earlier listing two specific priorities for the distribution of her estate. The first was helping the poor, which she struck from the document a year later. The second was to provide for the care of dogs, although she added “and such other charitable activities as the trustees shall determine.”

In February, a Manhattan judge ruled that the trustees had sole discretion in disbursing her assets and that the entire estate did not have to go to the dogs.


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I hate hearing this. She clearly had wishes for her estate to be donated to the care of dogs. However the powers that be felt they had more important causes to divert the money to. You would think they'd want to respect her final wishes as they are required to do under law as trustees...

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