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Going to the Dogs! Of Course!

Many of us who grew up in New York City remember Leona Helmsley, the real estate magnate who appeared in advertisements for her hotel chain and was eventually found guilty of income tax evasion. The testimony from a former employee during her trial that she had once said, "Only the little people pay taxes" earned her the enmity of many New Yorkers. She also earned a nickname that referred to her alleged meanness.

When she died last year, it was reported that she left a large amount of her estate to her dog. Just yesterday, the New York Times reported that she also left her entire charitable trust, possibly $8 billion, to be used for the care and welfare of dogs (cf. Helmsley Left Dogs Billions in Her Will). This of course leads to the question of how best to use the money to help dogs.

I was amused to see in today's Times that reporter Ralph Blumenthal had decided to ask the ones most affected by this news to comment – the dogs themselves (cf. Legacy of $8 Billion? For Us? Dogs Take the News in Stride). He got some very good quotes, too:

“I’d have a lovely green field and a fountain and a big place for me to sit and watch,” Froggy said of Ms. Helmsley’s largess....

Also, “more no-kill shelters would be nice,” Billy told her owner, Laura Hughes, a casting director....

Johnny hadn’t read the Helmsley article in The New York Times — “He’s kind of a Daily News kind of dog,” Mr. Rand said.

But he said Johnny would know just what to do with the Helmsley billions.

“He’d keep about $500,000 for medical care and give away the rest,” Mr. Rand said. “He’s that kind of dog.”

Go read the article. You'll be particularly amused by Oliver, the dog who used to work for Hans Blix.


Nothing against dogs, but there are many far better things this money could be used for. Though I can't object to not just leaving it to her kids, who IU am sure are doing quite nicely.
One of the dogs quoted thought the money would be better spent on a children's hospital.
I remember when this all went down, and all I could think of was how batty she was to leave her estate to her dogs. On the other hand, her pooches seem to have a good sense of how they can best use the money :)


I'll be a dog for 8 billion dollars. I'm guessing that I'm not alone in this thought.

December 2016

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