Leona Helmsley's Middletowne Hotel Closing As Empire Begins to Crumble

By Nicole Bode on February 5, 2010 11:39am | Updated on February 5, 2010 11:25am

Leona Helmsley speaks to the press in 2003, after a former assistant accused her of firing him because he was gay.
Leona Helmsley speaks to the press in 2003, after a former assistant accused her of firing him because he was gay.
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AP Photo/Louis Lanzano

The Queen of Mean’s empire is beginning to crumble.

The 82-year-old Helmley Middletowne Hotel, one of four hotels in the late Leona Helmsley’s estate, will close its doors in May, Crain’s New York reported.

The E. 48th Street hotel is the smallest in Helmsley’s collection with 192 rooms, a fraction of the 776-room New York Helmsley or the 587-room Park Lane hotels.

But the decision to allow the hotel's lease to expire has kicked up speculation about the fate of the rest of Helmsley's holdings, Crain's reported.

The Middletowne Hotel touted itself as a getaway for corporate executives and diplomats from the neighboring United Nations. Rooms range from $144 a night for a queen bed to $300 for a large one-bedroom suite, according to the Web site.

79 employees are expected to be affected by the closing, Crain’s said.

Helmsley Enterprises did not immediately return a call for comment.

Before her death in 2007, Leona Helmsley earned a reputation as a ruthless businesswoman who ran her late husband Harry Helmsley’s empire with the help of unscrupulous business practices that landed her in prison after being convicted of tax evasion in 1989.

Helmsley made headlines again following her death when she willed $12 million of her vast estate to her dog, Trouble, while disinheriting her own grandchildren.

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