Animal groups in court over Helmsley fortune
By KAREN MATTHEWS (AP) – 16 hours ago
NEW YORK — Animal-welfare groups are accusing the trustees of hotel queen Leona Helmsley's multibillion-dollar estate of ignoring her wishes that the lion's share of the money should go to the dogs.
Instead, the animal advocates said Tuesday, the trustees have shown "disdain" for Helmsley's pet cause by donating only $100,000 to dog welfare.
Three animal-welfare groups filed a petition in Manhattan Surrogate's Court on Monday arguing that Helmsley, who died in 2007, specified in her will that her estate should be used to help dogs, and the trustees disregarded those wishes.
The groups — the Humane Society of the United States, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and Maddie's Fund — want the court to throw out a judge's February decision that gave the trustees for the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust sole authority to determine which charities would benefit from her estate.
A "mission statement" in Helmsley's will directed that the money be spent on the care of dogs and other charitable interests designated by the trustees. But it also gave the trustees discretion in spending the money.
Wayne Pacelle, chief executive officer of the Humane Society, said dog welfare was "the only charitable interest specifically designated in the trust instrument. ... But what we've seen is an utter disdain for the cause of animal welfare and a complete writing off of the animal welfare concern." Read More
Even if Leona left her money specifically to care for dogs, that should put the Humane Society of the United States out of the running. They don’t operate a single dog shelter, nor do they care for any dogs. This is just a money grab by Wayne Pacelle and company. Even if they got the money, I doubt that’s what it would be used for. They have a track record of taking money in the name of a certain cause and then hoarding it for other uses. You might remember the millions of dollars they raised after Hurricane Katrina to rescue pets but then spent just a fraction of it doing so. These people can’t be trusted with any amount of money. Give the money to the local pet shelters that are actually making a difference.