Skip to main content

New York. Leona Helmsley. Trustees Challenged. Where's the beef?

Be careful when you're alive but it seems you should also take care when you die. Leona Helmsley, unfairly labeled as the Queen of Mean by the media, wasn't so mean after all. She earmarked the enormous wealth she left behind ( five billion) to be spent largely on animal welfare, but there is a problem. The ASPCA, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and Maddie’s Fund, filed a lawsuit last week in New York Surrogate’s Court to intervene in the allocation of Helmley's wealth, claiming that her wishes are not being fulfilled by her trustees. This lawsuit targets an earlier ruling that allowed the trustees to disregard Mrs. Helmsley’s specific instructions that her wealth be spent helping dogs. In other words, spend the money the way the deceased wanted it spent. Because of that earlier ruling, less than 0.1% the trust’s initial round of grants went to dog-related charities.

Marsha Perelman, ASPCA Board Chair, stated that “Just a fraction of the money involved in Mrs. Helmsley’s estate is a game-changer for animal welfare...The fate of dogs in this country could very well rest on the decision of this lawsuit—it is that critical. " Ed Sayres, President and CEO of the ASPCA chimed in as well: “Mrs. Helmsley understood the importance of animal welfare. She wanted her worldly estate to make our society better for dogs and animals—and if distributed as she intended, it definitely has the power to do so.”

This sort of misdirection should alarm everyone, and you don't have to be a billionaire. Is there any respect out there anymore? You put your dying wishes in legal form and by some legal gymnastics by the very people you trusted turn your wishes into mush. I give this lawsuit two thumbs up, one for seeking to uphold Mrs. Helmley's will and the other for setting a precedent that trustees---not only Helmley's but all those who were bequeathed with enormous funds--- will be held accountable for their actions.

Comments

air said…
For those messing with her will, they WILL be held accountable by the Queen of Mean on the other side.
Chessbuff said…
You betcha, and no more Mrs. Nice billionairess.

Popular posts from this blog

Northern New Jersey. Dog for Adoption. Simba. Pomeranian.

Here's a dog I want you to meet, Simba. He's an energetic little fellow who literally leaps in joy when it's time for a walk. I mean, Simba leaps vertically like he's on a pogo stick. He's very amusing. Simba was rescued from a pound down in West Virginia, and he's now with us in northern New Jersey. I love small dogs, and he's become my most recent favorite. Simba certainly qualifies as a lap dog. Last Sunday, after walking him, we sat in our patio area at the shelter and I gave him tummy rubs and back massages while he laid like a pillow on my lap. I've been told that Simba doesn't like having a collar put around his neck, and so he wears a harness instead. Interestingly, Simba is microchipped. So, he belonged to someone who cared for him. He's a good boy and only two years old. All predict that Simba will get adopted quickly, like most toy dogs do.

Bloomingdale Animal Shelter Society

UPDATE: Adopted by the Small Animal Rescue of Princeton, NJ

Poem. Captivity, Longing. Cruelty. Misery. Free the Animals.

Thumbing through some Robert Frost poems, I was led to this one by Maya Angelou . I don't know if Frost ever had an influence on Angelou, but certainly any American poet living today would be familiar with Frost's work. Frost and Whitman are my favorite poets, and the romantic poets ( Keats, Byron, and Shelley ) I can't bear. I find their work dense, abstruse and impenetrable. It's just a matter of taste and connectivity. I am no expert on verse, but I will accept the opinion of those who are. They warn us that Frost's poetry is deceivingly simple. If we were to try our hand at it, to put complicated emotions into simple verse, we would be tied up in knots.

Anyway, Angelou's poem below, Caged Bird, touches on the plaintive cries, the longing for better things, that captive individuals must go through. You can apply the core meaning or sentiment of this poem to any situation involving imprisonment or captivity, human or animal. Think of the dog in a dank, dark ba…

Hiking. Protection Against Snake Bites. Gaiters.

You might wonder what on Earth are these? They are called, "gaiters," and fashion has nothing to do with them. Gaiters act like shin guards against briars and other thorny plants, worn by those who work outdoors like forestry rangers, ranchers, and farmers. Gaiters come in different styles and material, but they normally protect the ankles up to the knees.

This pair provides protection against snake bites. New material called SuperFabric makes protection possible without putting on the usual thick, cumbersome gaiters with polycarbonate sheets embedded in them. This pair is flexible and light, made by Whitewater. I got this pair from http://www.forestry-suppliers.com/

I believe that such protection is necessary for hikers considering that rattlesnakes, copperheads, and cottonmouths are not rare along the trails, and they can be difficult to spot on the ground. I am willing to accept the prevailing theory that snakes, like most wild animals, will avoid hikers if given enough tim…