The Korea Herald


Leona Helmsley's millionaire dog dies

By 조정은

Published : June 10, 2011 - 10:00

    • Link copied

NEW YORK — "Trouble," the pooch who inherited $12 million from hotel mogul Leona Helmsley, has died, heading to the hunting grounds in the sky and leaving a trail of money and legal disputes behind.

The pampered Maltese bitch with a curly off-white coat died December 13, spokeswoman Eileen Sullivan said, but news only emerged Thursday.

She was 12 in human years, or 84 in doggie years, just shy of the 87 years at which her eccentric mistress and benefactor Helmsley died in 2007.

"She was cremated, and her remains are being privately retained," Sullivan said. The remaining funds held in trust for "Trouble" have gone to The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust.

When Helmsley died she left her adored companion $12 million, but a New York judge agreed she had been mentally incompetent and knocked down that fortune to a mere $2 million, while boosting the inheritance left to Helmsley's human family and to charity.

Leona Helmsley and Trouble in 2003. (AP) Leona Helmsley and Trouble in 2003. (AP)

"Trouble," known for snapping nastily at just about anyone except Helmsley, retired to Florida, living and finally dying in luxury at the Helmsley Sandcastle hotel in Sarasota.

According to the New York Daily News, which broke the story, "Trouble" chewed through $100,000 a year, with $8,000 for grooming, $1,200 for food and the rest for security against dozens of kidnapping and death threats.

For "Trouble," mealtime was never a question of canned meat in a plastic bowl, but fresh chicken and vegetables prepared by a Helmsley hotel chef and served on silver and china plates -- for the diamond-collar canine, the New York Times reported.

Despite lavishing love on Helmsley, "Trouble" lived up to her name where the real estate billionaire's other entourage was concerned.

At Helmsley's death, outraged relatives went to court to complain that the matriarch's will was barking mad -- a final insult from a woman long dubbed "Queen of Mean" for her bad temper, penny pinching and tax evasion.

In the original will, the dog got more than the humans. Two grandsons were told they could receive $5 million provided they promised to visit their late father's grave annually, while two other grandchildren were cut out "for reasons which are known to them."

Most of Helmsley's wealth, worth some $8 billion, went to charity.

A judge agreed to cut "Trouble's" part of the will to millionaire-style scraps and gave $6 million to the grandchildren who had been left out.

Helmsley, who served 18 months in prison for tax dodging and once declared that "only the little people pay taxes," had another of her last wishes thwarted: to be reunited in death with little "Trouble."

Her hope to have the dog buried alongside her in a spacious family mausoleum in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery outside New York was forbidden under rules barring animals.



 130억원 상속받은 美 애완견 하늘나라로

(뉴욕 AFP=연합뉴스) 지난 2007년 미국 호텔 업계의 거물 리오나 헴슬리의 타계로 1천200만달러(약 130억원)의 유산을 받은 말티즈 종 암컷 애완견 '트러블'이 지난해 12월 죽은 것으로 알려졌다.

헴슬리 부부가 기부한 재산으로 설립된 동물보호재단인 '레오나 앤드 해리 헴슬리 챌리터블 트러스트(HCT)' 대변인 아일린 셜리번은 9일 성명을 내고 '트러블'이 지난해 12월 13일 죽었다고 밝혔다.

셜리번은 "트러블은 화장됐고 유골은 개인이 보관하고 있다"면서 트러블이 남긴 재산은 모두 헴슬리 재단으로 넘어갔다고 설명했다.

헴슬리가 타계한 뒤 유족들은 그가 유언장을 작성할 당시 정신이 온전치 못했다며 뉴욕 법원에 소송을 제기했고 결국 법원은 트러블의 유산을 200만달러로 대폭 삭감했다.

이후 트러블은 플로리다에 있는 헴슬리 호텔 지배인의 보호를 받으며 호화로운 여생을 보냈다.

뉴욕 데일리 뉴스에 따르면 트러블은 매년 10만달러를 썼는데 미용에 8천달러, 사료에 1천200달러, 그리고 나머지는 납치 및 살해 위협에 대비한 경호 비용 등에 모두 지출됐다.

트러블은 매일 은식기나 도자기 접시에 담긴 헴슬리 호텔 주방장이 요리한 신선한 닭고기와 야채를 먹었고 다이아몬드가 박힌 개목걸이를 착용했다.

헴슬리는 재산 대부분을 개들을 위한 복지 사업에 써달라며 헴슬리 채리터블 트러스트에 기부할 만큼 생전에 개를 좋아했고 트러블을 자식처럼 아꼈다.

그러나 그는 고용인들에게는 가혹했고 탈세 혐의로 1년6개월간 복역하는 등 '비열함의 여왕(Queen of Mean)'이란 별명으로 불렸다.

헴슬리는 트러블이 죽으면 자신과 나란히 뉴욕 외곽의 '슬리피 할로우' 가족묘에 묻어달라는 유언도 남겼으나 동물의 묘를 허용하지 않는 묘지의 원칙에 따라 소원을 이룰 수 없게 됐다.