Leona Helmsley


Biography of Leona Helmsley

Leona Mindy Roberts Helmsley (July 4, 1920 – August 20, 2007) was an American businesswoman. She was known for her flamboyant personality and had a reputation for tyrannical behavior that earned her the nickname Queen of Mean. She was promoted by the Beber Silverstein Group and its co-founder Joyce Beber who persuaded her to call herself Queen of the Palace Hotel.

Following allegations by unpaid contractors that work done on her home had been charged to her company, she was investigated and convicted of federal income tax evasion and other crimes in 1989. Although having initially received a sentence of 16 years, Helmsley was required to serve only 19 months in prison and two months under house arrest. Helmsley's fate was sealed when a former housekeeper testified during the trial that she had heard Helmsley say: "We don't pay taxes. Only the little people pay taxes...", a saying that became notorious and was identified with her for the rest of her life.

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