Death Threats Drive Heiress Dog Into Hiding

Helmsley's $12M pooch flees to undisclosed location in Fla.
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 3, 2007 3:56 PM CST
Hotelier Leona Helmsley, 87, shown in this September 1991 file photo, died in Greenwich, Conn., Monday, Aug. 20, 2007. Helmsley, who was reviled as the "queen of mean," and went to prison as a tax cheat,...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – When the Queen of Mean left her pampered pooch $12 million, it only spelled trouble for Trouble. Leona Helmsley's spoiled Maltese, whose annual upkeep bills run to $300,000, was forced to flee her Connecticut estate after a flood of death and abduction threats by blackmailers hungry for the dog’s moolah, the London Times reports.

“We were alarmed by the number of threats—20 to 30,” said a Helmsley aide. The Maltese was flown to an undisclosed location under an assumed name—“Bauble”—and is reportedly frolicking under the protection of its security team. But alas, in her exile, Trouble has had to swap chef-prepared cuisine for kibble. In a bowl.