AG challenges Helmsley executors’ $100M fee claim

Four men handling Queen of Mean's $5.4B estate want "grossly excessive" amount

Leona Helmsley
Leona Helmsley

The New York State attorney general’s office is challenging four men who are charging the estate of late billionaire Leona Helmsley a $100 million fee for their executor services, describing the figure as “grossly excessive.”

The compensation – which amounts to $6,437 an hour or $250,000 per month for each executor – “bears no factual relationship to the actual value of the work” performed by the four men and threatens to “unfairly reduce Mrs. Helmsley’s legacy to her charitable foundation,” according to court papers filed Thursday by assistant attorney general Carl Distefano.

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Helmsley, who died in 2007, left most of her $5.4 billion fortune to charities funding health care, education and conservation, according to the New York Post. The four executors in question – which includes two of Helmsley’s grandsons – have argued that handling the estate was a significant, years-long undertaking.

In addition to the $100 million fee being demanded, the grandsons have already received $10 million from Helmsley’s will, while the estate has also shelled out another $18 million in fees to outside professionals, the Post reports.

Among other assets, the executors were responsible for managing more than 80 real estate holdings, $2 billion in municipal bonds and $12 million of Helmsley’s personal items auctioned off at Christie’s. The parties are due in court next week on the matter of the compensation, with a judge having final say over the executors’ fees. [NYP]Rey Mashayekhi