Leona Helmsley

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We don't pay taxes. Only the little people pay taxes.

Leona Mindy Roberts Helmsley (July 4 1920August 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.


  • 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)
  • 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.
      • "Leona Helmsley: Playboy interview" , Playboy magazine, November 1990.[1]
  • 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
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