2011/06/10

Leona Helmsley's millionaire dog die

NEW YORK - TROUBLE, the pooch who inherited US$12 million (S$14.8 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 with a curly off-white coat died Dec 13, spokesman Eileen Sullivan said, but news only emerged on 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,' Ms 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 US$12 million, but a New York judge agreed she had been mentally incompetent and knocked down that fortune to a mere US$2 million, while boosting the inheritance left to Helmsley's human family and to charity.

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 US$100,000 a year, with US$8,000 for grooming, US$1,200 for food and the rest for security against dozens of kidnapping and death threats.

For Trouble, meal-time 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. -- AFP