Leona Helmsley’s Heiress Dog in Trouble

Former housekeeper may sue the dog’s trust over alleged bites.

Posted: September 8, 2007, 5 a.m. EST

Looks like there’s trouble in store for Trouble.

A former housekeeper for Leona Helmsley said she may sue Trouble, the Maltese who received a $12 million trust from the late billionaire hotelier’s estate.

Zamfira Sfara says Trouble bit her dozens of times when she worked for Helmsley in 2004. Sfara had previously tried unsuccessfully to sue Helmsley over the alleged dog bites.

Sfara says Trouble also bit several bodyguards, a nurse and a hotel guest during the three months Sfara worked at Helmsley’s Manhattan home.

Alvin Rosenthal, Helmsley’s brother, was named Trouble’s guardian. A press report this week claimed Rosenthal doesn’t want the dog.

Helmsley left more money to the 8-year-old dog than to several family members. Two of four grandchildren from Helmsley’s late son Jay Panzirer received $5 million each. Two other grandchildren from Panzirer received nothing “for reasons that are known to them,” wrote Helmsley in her will.

Helmsley, nicknamed the “Queen of Mean” by members of the media, was convicted of tax evasion in 1988.


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Elizabeth   New York, NY

10/16/2007 1:53:56 PM

Maybe this sweet dog was kinder to Ms. Helmsley and brought her more happiness than her family members. People can be very unkind and manipulative while animals love unconditionally. Ms. Helmsley went through some very tough times in the past and perhaps her family didn't stick by her while her faithful dog Trouble did. Take now for example. Her own brother won't honor her dying wish to take care of her sweet dog, a dog she loved very much. It is such a small thing to ask, yet he won't do it. He has, however, no problem taking the money. What kind of a brother is he? Maybe if people dug a little deeper into Helmsley's family they would understand why she chose to leave some family members out of the will altogether and give a large portion to Trouble. People are sometimes so quick to say "how rediculous it's a dog," but what if that dog is a better being and has been better to you than your own family. Why are people so threatened by animals anyway? That's another question, but still it makes you wonder. God Bless Trouble. I hope he will be in good hands.

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Ann   Chicago, IL

10/15/2007 9:41:26 PM

I would be happy to care for Trouble Helmsley.

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megan   frazeysburg, OH

9/9/2007 9:46:40 AM

thanks for this article

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Michelle   cowichan bay, CA

9/8/2007 8:56:04 PM

I think the dog and the money should be given to a loving who promises to train Trouble out of his bad habits.

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