Helmsley Cash Doesn't Have to Go to Dogs

Judge nixes late Queen of Mean's mission statement
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 26, 2009 3:03 AM CST
Leona Helmsley flashes a trademark grimace in New York in this 2003 file photo.   (AP Photo/ Louis Lanzano, File)
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(Newser) – Leona Helmsley's fortune won't be going exclusively to canine charities after all, the New York Times reports. A judge decided yesterday that the famously prickly late hotelier's instruction in her will that all of her $8 billion go toward helping dogs was not binding, clearing the way for the trustees managing her estate to distribute the cash to a wide range of charities.

A Humane Society spokesman said the cancellation of pooch payday was disappointing, although not unexpected. The mission statement in Helmsley's will "certainly signaled a clear intent on Mrs. Helmsley’s part to see the money used to help dogs," he said. The trustees aim to start making grants next month and they announced a variety of human causes they plan to help.