Leona Helmsley dead at 87

New York /
Aug.August 20, 2007 12:00 AM

Leona Helmsley, the developer and hotelier who was convicted on federal tax evasion charges, has died at 87. She died of heart failure at her summer home in Greenwich, Conn., said her publicist, Howard J. Rubenstein. Known as the “queen of mean,” she and husband Harry B. Helmsley once controlled the Empire State Building, 230 Park Avenue and the east side’s Tudor City apartment complex. They developed the Park Lane Hotel, the New York Helmsley Hotel and the Helmsley Palace Hotel and once held $5 billion in property. She actively managed the company, pushing for condo conversions when the trend was still new. Helmsley was convicted of evading $1.2 million in federal income taxes in 1989. Employees testified at the trial that she mistreated them. A former housekeeper testified that the magnate said; “We don’t pay taxes. Only the little people pay taxes,” which Helmsley denied.
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