Leona Helmsley estate executors say they are being cheated out of $90M

They claim a fee of $10M is "unreasonable"
January 03, 2017 03:40PM

Leona Helmsley (credit: Getty)

The executors charged with handling Leona Helmsley’s billion dollar estate say the New York State Attorney General’s Office is shortchanging them to the tune of $90 million.

Four men — including two of Helmsley’s grandsons — have been managing the late hotel heiress’ estate since she died in 2007. In new court papers, they claim the $10 million fee they are being paid for their services is “unreasonable” and “manifestly unfair,” the New York Post reported.

Last year, the AG office filed court papers in the New York surrogate court challenging the executors’ attempts to charge the estate $100 million, saying the figure was “grossly excessive.” The attorney general said the payment should be less than $10 million total, or around $600 per hour.

Helmsley’s will states the executors should not be paid the usual fee of 4 percent, or roughly $200 million, based on a percentage of her $5.4 billion estate, according to the Post.

The AG’s “proposed ‘hours times rate’ calculation is nothing more than self-serving arithmetic simply designed to grossly underpay the executors for their services,” Jerome Levine, an attorney for two of the executors, Helmsley’s grandsons David and Walter Panzirer, said, according to the paper. A judge will ultimately decide how much the executors will be paid.

Helmsely, known as the “Queen of Mean” because of the way she treated her staff, left most of her $5.4 billion estate to charities funding health care, education and conservation. She also left $12 million to her dog, Trouble, a figure that was eventually reduced to $2 million. Trouble died in 2011. Among other assets, the executors have been responsible for managing more than 80 real estate holdings and $2 billion in municipal bonds. [NYP]Miriam Hall