Leona Helmsley (July 4 1920 – August 20 2007) was a billionaire New York City hotel operator and real estate investor. She was a flamboyant personality and had a reputation for tyrannical behavior that earned her the nickname "Queen of Mean." She was convicted of federal income tax evasion and other crimes in 1989 and served 19 months in prison (and two more months in house arrest), after receiving an initial sentence of 16 years.
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- We don't pay taxes. Only the little people pay taxes.
- Quoted in New York Times (July 12, 1989)
- Quoted in Newsweek magazine, p. 11 (July 24, 1989)
About Leona Helmsley
- Most Americans, in their sweet innocence, think that class has to do with money. But a glance at Donald Trump and Leona Helmsley will indicate that it has very little to do with money. It has to do with taste and style, and it has to do with the development of those features by acts of character. That was one of my points: to try to separate class from mercantilism or commercialism.
- Paul Fussell, Humanities Interview, 1996
- Leona Helmsley is a truly evil human being. She treated employees worse than any human being I've ever witnessed and I've dealt with some of the toughest human beings alive.
- "Donald Trump: Playboy interview" , Playboy magazine, March 1990.
- Helmsley retorted "I can't wait to read Trump's new book, especially chapter eleven!". At the time, Trump's casino holdings were being reorganized to avoid bankruptcy.
- "Leona Helmsley: Playboy interview" , Playboy magazine, November 1990.
- Helmsley would lick the dog, tongue to tongue. It was unhealthy, unnatural.
- Zamfira Sfara, former housekeeper, in August 30, 2007, Daily News, about Leona Helmsley's relationship with her dog Trouble, which received the largest inheritance of Helmsley's heirs, $12 million