Her instructions, specified in a two-page “mission statement,” are that the entire trust, valued at $5 billion to $8 billion and amounting to virtually all her estate, be used for the care and welfare of dogs, according to two people who have seen the document...Will the lawyers and judges be able to wheedle their way out of of this? Will the force of mega-money and sheer public outrage at spending it all on dogs open a loophole where there is none? Read the linked article, and you'll see that the judge has already been "flexible" about the will that left $12 million to Helmsley's dog Trouble. The dog is only getting $2 million!
It is by no means clear, however, that all the money will go to dogs. Another provision of the mission statement says Mrs. Helmsley’s trustees may use their discretion in distributing the money, and some lawyers say the statement may not mean much anyway, given that its directions were not incorporated into Mrs. Helmsley’s will or the trust documents.
“The statement is an expression of her wishes that is not necessarily legally binding,” said William Josephson, a lawyer who was the chief of the Charities Bureau in the New York State attorney general’s office from 1999 to 2004.
[L]ongstanding laws favor adherence to a donor’s intent, and the mission statement is the only clear expression of Mrs. Helmsley’s charitable intentions. ...What thoughts went through her head as she deleted the goal of helping poor people? What happened that made her snap?
... Mrs. Helmsley signed it in 2003 to establish goals for the multibillion-dollar trust that would disburse assets after her death.
The first goal was to help indigent people, the second to provide for the care and welfare of dogs. A year later, they said, she deleted the first goal.
Now, let's assume the trust stays the way it seems she wanted it, and the money must be all spent on the dog community. How to spend it?
There are many ways the trustees could spend the Helmsley money on dogs. National groups like the Humane Society and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals have programs dedicated to dogs, and many smaller local groups rescue abandoned and abused dogs.Make sure the cats don't get any of it! Why not stop putting the dogs to death? Build huge dog care centers for all the stray dogs. House their caregivers — luxury style — and pay them well. Now, it's a nice jobs program for the best people — the dog-loving kind.
Or the trustees could use the trust’s money to finance veterinary schools or research on canine diseases.Found schools of dog medicine. (The cats get nothing! Farm animals? Zoo animals? Wild animals? No money for them!) Very generously fund all the professors of dog medicine at these schools.
You know, being a people doctor isn't so great anymore. So all the best students will want to go to dog medicine school — where tuition is free. Make room and board free too. And make it luxury hotel style.
Found dog hospitals. Provide free care to dogs. Cancer surgery — free. Intensive care units — with the best paid nurses. The hospital food? Hire the best chefs.
Build dog cemeteries. Ornate, grand — have the best sculptors carve marble dog statues for the monuments. And let people walk their dogs in in the cemetery and piss on the monuments all they like. Pay some human beings to clean up after the dogs constantly.
Construct beautiful parks dedicated to dogs on the most expensive city real estate. At the gate, post a sign: No human beings unaccompanied by dogs.
IN THE COMMENTS: Pogo looks for loopholes:
1. The University of Georgia. Go Dawgs!
2. Footwear for the working poor.
3. Plastic surgery for homely girls.
4. A tuition-free Rap school, founded by Snoop.
5. The world's biggest block party, with weiners by Milwaukee's own Usinger's.
6. Fireplace andirons for everybody!
7. Fund the study of parhelions.