Helmsley’s trustees reduce donation to dogs charities

by Leanne Thompson on April 23, 2009

On Tuesday this week, it was announced that $136 million of late New York property and hotel billionaire Leona Helmsley’s estated would be given to charity, but it was disappointing to hear that just $1 million will be distributed to dog-related charities that she preferred.

Helmsley died aged 87 in 2007 at her home in Connecticut, leaving instructions to the trustees of her estate that most of her multi-billions should go towards the care and welfare of dogs.  However, the will also gave the trustees discretion in distributing the funding.

A judge ruled that the trustees do have sole authority on how to distribute the money and although Helmsley had left her beloved white Maltese dog named Trouble $12 million, more than she had left to most of her family members, the judge reduced this figure to $2 million on the ground that Helmsley was mentally unfit when making her will.

The media had nicknamed Helmsley the ‘Queen of Mean’ but the real estate magnate had a soft spot for dogs.

Most of the $136 million funding is to go to medical causes and conservation projects.  The $1 million to dog-related causes is to be split up into $100,000 donations and given to dog charities.  Some of the dog-related causes names were Dogs for the Deaf, Guide Dogs for the Blind, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and Puppies Behind Bars.

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