"Queen of Mean" Leona Helmsley Dies

NEW YORK (AP) --Leona Helmsley, the hotelier who went to prison as a tax cheat and was reviled as the "queen of mean," died Monday at age 87.

Helmsley died of heart failure at her summer home in Greenwich, Conn., said her publicist, Howard Rubenstein.

Helmsley and her husband, Harry, ran a $5 billion real estate empire that included managing the Empire State Building. She was tried in 1989 on tax evasion charges in a sensational trial that included testimony from disgruntled employees who said she terrorized both menial and executive help at her homes and hotels.

Her image was sealed when a former housekeeper testified that she heard Helmsley say: "We don't pay taxes. Only the little people pay taxes."

She denied having said it, but the words followed her the rest of her life.


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