“The Queen of Mean”
Born Lena Mindy Rosenthal to a middle-class Jewish family in 1920, Leona eventually rose to sit atop a huge New York real estate empire. After a checkered and scandalous past she married Harry Helmsley in 1972. Their holdings included the “Flatiron Building”, the Helmsley Palace Hotel and the Empire State Building. Leona led a tumultuous life and was known as “The Queen of Mean” for the way she treated her staff and subordinates. After having famously said “Only the little people pay taxes,” she was convicted on tax evasion charges and she spent 19 months in prison in the early 90s. She died lonely and secluded in Greenwich, Connecticut at the age of 86, leaving a multi-billion dollar estate, including 12 million to her dog, Trouble.