Leona Helmsley, the late hotelier known as “the Queen of Mean,” left instructions to use virtually all of her estate—$5 billion to $8 billion—to create a charity for the care and welfare of dogs. That’s on top of the $12 million Helmsley left to her dog, Trouble. (The New York Times) The Humane Society and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals already said they would apply for some of Helmsley’s gift. (AP in ABC News)
What the commentators said
Let’s put $8 billion in context, said Hartford Courant copy editor Brian Carlo in his blog. Disney paid $7.4 billion for animation studio Pixar, and General Motors is now worth about $6.5 billion. Any way you look at it, Helmsley is giving a lot of cash “to take care of dogs. Dogs.”
"Maybe she did it because she hated people and loved dogs,” said Patt Morrison in the Los Angeles Times’ L.A. Unleashed blog. But even if only $5 billion goes towards dogs, that’s at least 10 times the combined assets of all animal-focused U.S. nonprofits. Helmsley was no saint “but she’d be welcomed with open paws in dog heaven.”
The dogs might never see the money, said Jan Williams in The Poodle (and Dog) Blog. The “mission statement” Helmsley left leaving her estate to the dogs may not be legally binding—and the judge already cut $10 million from Trouble’s trust fund. So get ready for a long court fight.