Leona Helmsley, the late Helmsley Hotel heiress, passed away early this week on Monday. Earlier this year, Forbes listed her as the 359th richest person in the world at $2.5 billion. At the height of her's and her also-late husband Harry's dynasty, they owned such pearls as the Park Lane, St. Moritz, and Palace in NYC, among many others. To their credit, they did make sizable contributions to hospitals and research organizations which ultimately has impacted the lives of even...yes, the 'little people'.
The Little People.
She's probably rolling over in her grave when I put it in that perspective. It was back in 1988 when her opulent conquests came to a crashing halt with a federal conviction on counts of a $1.2 million tax evasion...and when it came to testimonial light a 'snarling' comment she made to a housekeeper that was a shot heard 'round the world:
"Only the little people pay taxes."
In typical Leona style, akin to that of a self-declared demigod, she is to be interred in a $1.4 million mausoleum with her husband and, when appropriate, her white Maltese "Trouble". Oh yeah, and left $3 million dog-eared for the cleaning and upkeep of said classy crypt in Westchester County, NY. "I was SOMEbody, and don't you forget it!" is what that screams. Anybody that has to shove it in your face that they were great clearly failed the first test of true greatness: humility.
To her partial credit, massive sums of her estate will go into the family's charitable trust. Clap, clap...
But that's still not the basis for this week's FF nod. No, it's the $12 MILLION she left her appropriately named pooch "Trouble". I suppose you can say it was her money and it's hers to do with as she pleases...can't argue that one...but in the greater scope of Life on this earthly plane, and the myriad opportunities to give back, do good, improve things and REALLY make a difference for others, such pooch-padding tells me all I need to know about that woman. Ego can be very, very ugly.
Of her 4 grandchildren, 2 got not a penny...she claims they know why (rumor has it they refused to name any of their children after their grandfather)...and the other 2 get $5 million each immediately, with an additional $5 million held in 'trust'...the trust stipulation is that they have to visit their father's grave site at least once each calendar year, or they get none of it. Talk about your strings attached...
Her stories of nickel and diming and outright cheating contractors and vendors are legendary and numerous beyond count. She represented all that most of us stand up against, and for good reason. The longer and more each of us invests in the idea that we are separate from each other, better than another, more 'right' than another, the longer it will take to heal this planet, if we even have the chance to do so. "Us" and "them" serves only as a mighty wedge, on the smallest and largest scale...and can never fix a single problem together.
Enjoy your weekend and (for most of you) the cooler weather!!! YAY!!!