Leona Helmsley Estate Sells for Bargain Price of $35 Million

It’s hard to imagine that the sale of a $35 million home could be considered a “bargain,” but that’s what the Wall Street Journal says the recent sale of former hotel heiress Leona Helmsley’s 40-acre estate in Greenwich, Connecticut has to be considered. After all, while the price tag was one of the highest ever for a home in the tony New York suburb, it’s still a fraction of the initial $125 million price for the mansion when it was first listed for sale in April 2008.

The 22,000-square foot manor house was built in 1918 and has features including a carriage house, walk-in vault and a koi pond. It was also a key element in the tax evasion trial of Helmsley and her husband Harry in 1989, when federal prosecutors charged that the Helmsleys illegally billed more than $8 million of remodeling work at the estate as “business expenses,” paying for work such as the building of a $1 million dance floor from their business and claiming it as a tax write-off.

Leona Helmsley would serve 18 months in prison before dying in August 2007 of congestive heart failure. The estate in Greenwich is one of many real estate holdings sold recently by the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust. Another real estate holding recently sold by the trust was New York’s Carlton Hotel. The trust also owns a stake in the Empire State Building.

While the original $125 million price tag was extravagant even by Greenwich standards, the property is one of the gems of the area. Among its amenities are a reception hall with an 86-foot-long gallery, a master suite with an onyx bath and a wine cellar with tasting room.