Leona Helmsley: Hotel and Real Estate Queen dies

By
Real Estate Agent with Compass

Leona Helmsley, The New York hotel and real estate "Queen" died of heart failure today at age 87. Leonna was a succesful residential real estate broker before her marriage to Harry Helmsley the NY real estate magnate. 

Leona helped her husband run a $5 billion empire that included managing the Empire State Building.

Helmsley became known as the "queen of mean" when a former housekeeper testified that she heard Helmsley say: "We don't pay taxes. Only the little people pay taxes," during testimony at a trial where they were being charged with tax-evasion.

In 1980's Leona became president of Helmsley Hotels, a subsidiary which including the Park Lane, St. Moritz and Palace in New York and the Harley Hotels.

While I've never had any dealings with Leona in real estate, I did in a previous life in advertising. During most of the 80's Leona Helmsley was featured smiling in glamorous magazine ads dressed in luxurious gowns and tiara, advertising the Helmsley Palace as the only hotel in the world "where the Queen stands guard."

During the 1980's I was the Advertising Director for the Hollywood Reporter. I was invited to a lunch launching the new Park Lane Hotel. At the time I had many hotels and upscale advertisers but I wasn't getting business from the Helmsley hotels.

During the lunch I went up to Leona, introduced myself and gave her a copy of Our Anniversary issue, while pointing out to her an ad from Harry Winston Jewelers and the Parker Meridien hotel on the covers. She was not mean but quite charming to me. She called over Harry and said "Harry look we should be in here".

The next day some one from her offiice called, gave me the name of someone at their ad agency and they booked the ad campaign.

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Rainmaker
224,121
Laurie Mindnich
Centennial, CO
That's amazing!  What a great history Leona (and YOU) have.  Two great NY ladies passing recently- it's sad, somehow.
Aug 20, 2007 11:57 AM #1
Rainmaker
597,761
Mitchell J Hall
Compass - Manhattan, NY
Lic Associate RE Broker - Manhattan & Brooklyn
Hi Laurie, Who else passed recently?
Aug 20, 2007 12:04 PM #2
Rainer
111,655
Carole Cohen
Howard Hanna Cleveland City Office - Cleveland, OH
Realtor, ePRO

So you have a special place in your heart for her eh? My theory is that no one is all bad. :-)  She certainly was a colorful figure

Aug 20, 2007 02:02 PM #3
Rainer
146,936
Maureen Maureen
Orangeburg, NY

I think everyone loves to hate a villain. Her most infamous quote was: 

We don't pay taxes. Only the little people pay taxes.
~ Leona Helmsley

Aug 20, 2007 02:18 PM #4
Rainmaker
597,761
Mitchell J Hall
Compass - Manhattan, NY
Lic Associate RE Broker - Manhattan & Brooklyn

The little people (at her company like the advertising director) might have paid their taxes but I didn't get the business until I went right to the decision maker. lol 

Aug 20, 2007 04:03 PM #5
Rainmaker
423,533
Eric Kodner
Wayzata Lakes Realty: Eric Kodner Sells Twin Cities Homes - Minnetonka, MN
Wayzata Lakes Realty: Twin Cities, Madeline Island

Ahh, Leona Helmsley, the reincarnation of Ebenezer Scrooge.

How is it possible to die of heart failure if you don't have one??

Aug 30, 2007 05:01 AM #6
Rainmaker
597,761
Mitchell J Hall
Compass - Manhattan, NY
Lic Associate RE Broker - Manhattan & Brooklyn

lol Eric,

In yesterday's paper her will was revealed. She left nothing for two of her grandchildren and $10 million to her dog.

Aug 30, 2007 05:16 AM #7
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Mitchell J Hall

Lic Associate RE Broker - Manhattan & Brooklyn
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