She was called the “Queen of Mean”.
The former model was a very successful real estate investor on her own even before she married her third husband, Harry Helmsley. That union shot [tag-tec]Leona Helmsley[/tag-tec] up to the stratosphere of real estate investment.
In early 2007, Forbes listed her as the 369th richest person in the world.
But there was a dark side to all her real estate management practices. She bullied employees from the bottom to the top. She fought with suppliers, small business people and the girl behind the department store counter. She even took on the IRS.
It was a colorful battle back in 1989, and the press enjoyed every titillating moment of it. We were not immune to the same feelings of justified smugness as we watched her enter a Club Fed.
“We don’t pay taxes. Only the little people pay [tag-ice]taxes[/tag-ice],” she was quoted as saying. That quote has haunted her all the way to the grave.
In the end, she served 21 months and had a whopping 750 hours of community service. The extra hours were piled on because she allegedly made some of her employees do portions of the dog work public service projects for her.
What can we learn from this successful [tag-self]real estate investor[/tag-self] turned mean?
What not to do.
We should pay our taxes. I know it’s hard to see our money wasted, and we talk a lot about that on this blog.
(Right now, Nashville is trying to decide whether to continue subsidizing a pro hockey team, that is about to leave town. No matter that we’re Southern and we don’t like hockey. Why do my tax dollars have to support things like that- especially when they can’t get their act together and get it in the black)?
But I also believe in the Golden Rule; Do Unto Others as You Would Have Them Do Unto You.
Leona had all the real estate managing tools she needed to be a successful real estate investor. But she didn’t have the right heart to go with that.
It was all those “little people” who testified against her at her trial. No fancy lawyers can save you from that kind of power. Leona did not respect them and they didn’t support her.
Take heed and don’t do likewise. What goes around, comes around. Instead, as you become a successful real estate investor always leverage your success for good.