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Thursday, August 30, 2007 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Helmsley wills her dog $12 million

New York Daily News

Pet projects

LEONA HELMSLEY isn't the first fat cat whose estate went — or is going — to the dogs — or cats:

Tobacco heiress Doris Duke left $100,000 to care for her pooches — Minnie, Foxie, Rodeo and Robert — when she died in 1993. A judge upheld it.

Singer Dusty Springfield wrote her California ragdoll cat, Nicholas, into her will before she died in 1999 and insisted he feast on imported baby food.

Actress Natalie Schafer, who played Mrs. Howell on "Gilligan's Island," reportedly left a fat chunk of her estate to her poodle.

Actress and animal activist Betty White reportedly has a will that leaves $5 million to her pets.

Oprah Winfrey is believed to have made arrangements for cocker spaniel Sophie and her other dogs.

New York Daily News

NEW YORK — Billionaire Leona Helmsley's pampered pooch will go on living in the lap of luxury.

The Queen of Mean cut two of her grandchildren out of her $4 billion fortune but left her largest bequest to Trouble, her white Maltese.

A source said the $12 million trust was created to care for the dog, who once starred in ads for the Helmsley Hotels.

Helmsley also stipulated that the dog be buried beside her and her husband, Harry, in a five-star mausoleum that will be maintained with a $3 million perpetual-care trust.

The luxury-hotel queen, who died last week at 87, set aside billions for charity and loved ones in a will made public Tuesday in Manhattan Surrogate's Court.

No one made out better than Trouble, not even Leona's brother, Alvin Rosenthal, who was left $10 million.

The will also details how Helmsley and Trouble are to spend the afterlife: in an ornate mausoleum she ordered to be "washed or steam-cleaned at least once a year."

The pooch will be cared for by Rosenthal until she dies. Then, Trouble will join her loving master, who in her later years rarely appeared in public without Trouble at her side. "I direct that when my dog, Trouble, dies, her remains shall be buried next to my remains in the Helmsley Mausoleum," Helmsley wrote.

While Trouble scored a bone-anza, two of Helmsley's grandkids were ordered to keep their paws off the mountain of money accumulated by the woman Forbes magazine last year ranked as the world's 369th richest person.

"I have not made any provisions in this will for my grandson Craig Panzirer or my granddaughter Meegan Panzirer for reasons which are known to them," she wrote.

The two outcasts are among the four children born to Helmsley's only son, Jay Panzirer, who died in 1982.

The others, David and Walter Panzirer, will get $5 million each, but only as long as they play by their grandma's rules. Helmsley wrote that neither brother will get a penny unless they visit their father's grave once a year.

To make sure her grandsons meet their requirement, Helmsley ordered a guest book be installed inside the mausoleum at the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Westchester County, N.Y.

The Helmsley grandchildren declined to comment.

Helmsley, who famously said, "Only the little people pay taxes," before being locked up for tax evasion, provided for at least one of those little people. She left $100,000 in her will for her chauffeur, Nicholas Celea.

The will orders that Helmsley's jewelry, art, cars and other valuable property be sold, with the proceeds — totaling billions — going to unnamed causes through the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust.

Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company

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