| NEW YORK
NEW YORK Trouble, the beloved dog of late
American billionaire Leona Helmsley, lost 5.1 million pounds
($10 million) in an inheritance settlement but it still should
be able to live a life of luxury.
Manhattan Surrogate Court Judge Renee Roth accepted a
settlement between Helmsley's heirs and the New York State
Attorney General's office that cuts Trouble's inheritance from
$12 million to $2 million on grounds that Helmsley was mentally
unfit when she made her will.
The ruling was made on April 30 and became public on
The settlement also awarded Helmsley's two grandchildren,
Craig Panzirer and Meegan Panzirer Wesolko, $6 million. They
had been cut out of her will "for reasons which are known to
them," the document said.
Helmsley, who was known as "the Queen of Mean" because of
the way she dealt with her employees, but had a soft spot for
Trouble. A clause in her will called for the 9-year-old white
Maltese to eventually be buried next to her in the Helmsley
Carl Lekic, the general manager of a Helmsley hotel in
Florida and now Trouble's caretaker, said $2 million would be
"enough money to pay for the dog's maintenance and welfare at
the highest standards of care for more than 10 years,"
according to an affidavit.
Lekic said the money would cover annual costs of $100,000
for full-time security, $8,000 for grooming and $1,200 for
food. Lekic is paid a $60,000 annual guardian fee out of the
Lawyers involved in the settlement did not respond to
requests for comment.
Helmsley died in August at age 87. She had amassed a
fortune in real estate and hotels with her husband, Harry
Helmsley, who died in 1997.
Famously quoted as having said "only the little people pay
taxes," Helmsley spent 18 months in federal prison for evading
$1.7 million in taxes in 1989.
(Editing by Bill Trott)