Leona Helmsley, an icon of ’80s-era superciliousness and a glowing tribute to the timeless Manhattan id, died two years ago of heart failure at age 87, but her legacy lived on. Her will excluded two grandchildren (“for reasons which are known to them”) but set aside $12 million for Trouble, her 8-year-old white Maltese. The dog was left to her brother, Alvin Rosenthal, who himself got $10 million.
Even though Mr. Rosenthal reportedly turned down those canine responsibilities, when a $1,995,000 deed for his new apartment at 1025 Fifth Avenue was filed last month, one was left to wonder about the place.
Why would an octogenarian want a new co-op? Why would he and his wife, Susan, buy now? Could the 4.5-room, 1,525-square foot apartment, with a Jacuzzi, “closets galore” and a balcony, possibly be for the white Maltese? “It is not for the dog,” Scott I. Schneider, a lawyer for Mr. Rosenthal and his wife, said this week. “It is for their personal use and occupancy. And the dog is kept in Florida at a place called the Sandcastle.” He called back a few minutes later to clarify that the dog was, as previously reported, with the general manager of the Helmsley Sandcastle Hotel in Sarasota.
“And no comments beyond that,” he said. But was the money spent from Helmsley’s $10 million, or maybe from her $12 million for the dog? “I have no comment. No comments, O.K.?”
Elliman listing broker Claire Ratusch hung up on this reporter. “Sweetheart, let me explain to you,” she said, “I can’t get involved.”