Leona Helmsley has always denied ever saying these now-infamous words.
12 July 1989, New York Times, pg. B2:
Says She Told Her "Only
the Little People Pay"
By The Associated Press
Leona Helmsley once told a housekeeper at her Connecticut home that "only the little people pay taxes," the housekeeper testified yesterday at Mrs. Helmsley's tax-fraud and extortion trial.
The witness, Elizabeth Baum, said the conversation took place at the Helmsleys' home in Greenwich four to six weeks after she was hired in September 1983.
Ms. Baum said she and Mrs. Helmsley were in a back hall of the $11 million home. "I said, 'You must pay a lot of taxes,'" Ms. Baum said. "She said, 'We don't pay taxes. Only the little people pay taxes.'"
Mrs. Helmsley, 69 years old, is accused of evading taxes by disguising $4 million in renovations at the Connecticut home as business expenses.