03/28/2008 02:45 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

"Queen Of Mean" Is Top U.S. Donor

With so much attention paid to the Forbes list, it's refreshing to see BusinessWeek, Slate and the Chronicle of Philanthropy put out their annual rankings of America's biggest charitable donors.

Slate yesterday came out with its list of America's 60 top charitable donors. The results might surprise you: Atop the list is Leona Helmsley, better known as the "Queen of Mean." The late Ms. Helmsley famously believed taxes were only for little people, but apparently she also believed that big people give to charity.

Ms. Helmsley bequeathed the majority of her assets, including cash from the sale of her homes and other property, to her charitable trust. Slate values the gift at $4 billion, but it could be worth up to $8 billion depending on her posthumous sales. Yes, Ms. Helmsley left $12 million to her dog, Trouble. But the bulk of her fortune -- which would let a lot of little dogs live large -- is going to charity. (That said, I can't find the trust's mission statement. Anyone?)

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