A judge in New York has agreed to slash 10 million off the 12 million US dollars inheritance given by real estate billionaire Leona Helmsley to her pet dog, Trouble.
Manhattan Surrogate Judge Renee Roth switched the 10 million from the nine-year-old Maltese's trust fund to Mrs. Helmsley's charitable foundation. Trouble lives with a manager at the Helmsley Sandcastle Hotel in Florida. Mrs Helmsley, who died last August aged 87, was dubbed the "Queen of Mean" during a trial in 1989 for tax evasion. An ex-housekeeper testified during the trial that she heard her say: "We don't pay taxes. Only the little people pay taxes," although Mrs. Helmsley always denied making the comment. The court's decision was reportedly made at the end of April but became public on Monday. Trouble's trustees said the dog did not need the full 12 million and requested the switch, the New York Post reported. It quoted an affidavit from Carl Lekic, the general manager of the Helmsley Sandcastle Hotel, which said 2 million would be enough for twice the dog's life expectancy. He put the annual expenses at 190,000 US dollars, the Post said. In an apparently separate agreement worked out between Mrs. Helmsley's grandchildren and executors of the estate, two grandchildren previously excluded will now receive money, although none of the parties has spoken publicly. Mrs. Helmsley's will say when Trouble dies she will be buried alongside her and her late husband Harry in their mausoleum. Mrs. Helmsley and her husband built a company which managed some of New York's most prestigious addresses, including the Empire State Building, as well as hotels across the country.