As I described in this article from February 2009, the trustees of the Leona Helmsley charitable trust asked the probate court in New York for permission to donate primarily to charities that helped people rather than dogs, despite some language in the trust that suggested she wanted her billions to benefits animal charities.
Specifically, the trust had a Mission Statement that included, as its first purpose “the provision of the care for dogs”. But it also gave the trustees discretion to benefit charities as they saw fit. This is a very important decisions for many charities (not to mention the people or animals they help) because we’re talking about several billion dollars.
This August, several different animal charities, including the Humane Society and American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, launched a legal challenge to the judge’s ruling to force the trustees to support animal charities. Reportedly, the trustees so far have donated very little to help dogs.
There was a big question whether these charities even had