LEONA MAID HOPES TO FETCH $12M WITH POOCH SUIT
By DAREH GREGORIAN
December 4, 2007 — Leona Helmsley’s pooch will have to be on the lookout for more than would-be assassins and dognappers when she comes back to New York – she’ll have to watch her wallet, too.
Zamfira Sfara, a former Helmsley housekeeper who used to tend to the Queen of Mean’s pampered pooch, Trouble, has filed a $12 million action against the dog’s current caretaker.
The suit is just the latest trouble for Trouble, who, as The Post reported yesterday, has been spirited to Florida after being on the receiving end of several death and dognapping threats.
Sfara’s suit charges Helmsley’s brother Alvin Rosenthal, who was left possession of the petite pooch in Helmsley’s will, and John Codey, who runs the $12 million trust fund left for the dog, with negligence.
Sfara told The Post she has a bone to pick with the pair because they knew Helmsley’s dog was attacking her when she went to work as the hotelier’s housekeeper in 2004, and they did nothing to help.
She said she’s suing for $12 million because that amount has become “the symbol of the dog that has destroyed my life.”
The Romanian immigrant went to work for Helmsley for three months in late 2004 – and quickly found out that her main responsibility was taking care of Trouble, an allegedly maid-mauling Maltese.
Sfara said the 41/2-pound dog frequently bit her hand with her piercing little teeth, often making her bleed. Sfara blames those bites for causing a crippling condition – called reflex sympathetic dystrophy – that sends searing pain shooting up her arm and into her back and neck.
Sfara sued Helmsley over her injuries in 2005, charging the billionaire was aware the dog had “vicious propensities,” but the case was thrown out after a judge found her injuries were covered by worker’s compensation.
Howard Rubenstein, a spokesman for Rosenthal and Codey, said, “The lawsuit is patently false and without merit, and we are confident the court will promptly dismiss it.”