Greed Beyond Belief
The Helmsleys. According to Jeanie Kasingdorf's article “Leona and Harry: Money and Love” (New York Magazine, 3O October), which we excerpt here, the wealth of Harry and Leona Helmsley is “conservatively estimated at $5 billion.” The Helmsleys, Trumps and their class are the people we want to overthrow and do you believe they’re going to go easily?
New York Magazine, 3 October 1988
In March 1982, while Field's Accountants were busy going through the Helmsley Palace books, Leona Helmsley's son Jay Panzierer, died suddenly after suffering a heart attack. The death plunged Harry and Leona Helmsley into a much more bizarre legal battle.
Panzier, who was 40 when he died, had lived near Orlando, Florida, with his third wife, Mimi, and his fourteen-year old son, Craig, one of four children from his marriage. He collapsed during a meeting at the Orlando Harley Hotel and was rushed to a nearby hospital. Harry and Leona immediately boarded their BAC-1-11 to fly to Florida, but Jay died before they got there. Leona had the body flown back to New York on a commercial jet for burial at Woodlawn Cemetery, where she and Harry have a mausoleum.
A few weeks later, according to Mini Panzirer, Harry Helmsley showed
up at her house in Florida. “He said he wanted me out.”
she says. “I asked him why he was doing this. He said he needed
the money. He went into detailed explanation of why he could no
longer charge the expenses of the house to Deco. He was very businesslike,
very calm.” She begged him to let her stay until Craig finished
the school year. He agreed.
In the end, the court refused to reimburse Harry Helmsley for the cost of shipping his stepson's body home. Leona withdrew the claim to the ring after Mimi produced a newspaper story in which Leona had called it a gift. But the Helmsleys did get most of Jay Panzirer's $149,000 estate. Mimi got $2,171, and his four children got $432 each. At the time, a spokesman for Leona Helmsley said that she had set up trust funds for the grandchildren. “She loves them,” he said, “and she is taking care of them.”
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