The Queen of Mean Leona Helmsley’s House

Dunnellen Hall, Greenwich, CT 06831


Leona Helmsley became well known when she married Harry B. Helmsley, a pre-eminent real estate investor and broker.  Mr. Helmsley had accumulated real-estate worth an estimated $ 5 billion, including the Empire State Building, the Helmsley Building on Park Avenue, and the Flatiron Building.

This “Queen of Mean” was known for her flamboyant personality and had a reputation for tyrannical behavior that earned her the nickname Queen of Mean.

In 1989, 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. 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. During the trial, a former housekeeper testified 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.

She was also required to perform 750 hours of community service, which she was later order to perform again plus 150 hours when it was found out she had some of her employees do part of her community service for her.

Named Dunnellen Hall, this celebrity home was built for New York City financier Daniel G. Reid as a gift for his daughter in 1918. Dunnellen Hall was built for approximately $6 million. The approximately 23,000-square-foot (2,100 m2) mansion originally sat on over 200 acres (0.81 km2), but is currently situated on just over 40. It was purchased in 1983 by Leona Helmsley and her husband Harry for US$11 million. According to the Greenwich Historical Society, Dunnellen Hall is one of the last intact historic estates left in Greenwich.

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Dunnellen Hall, Greenwich, CT 06831

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