May 23, 1988 12:00 PM

Leona & Harry Helmsley

Kudos to your magazine for the exhilarating, frank exposé of the Helmsleys (PEOPLE, May 2). In a city filled to overflowing with self-appointed princes and princesses, Mrs. Helmsley’s elevation to queen is tantamount to nausea. In our great nation where, thankfully, royalty doesn’t truly exist, it’s comforting to us, the bourgeoisie, to see dishonest crowns slip a little and heads roll.

Steve Williams

New York City

It is very sad that Leona Helmsley’s pettiness would extend to her grandchildren. For a woman with everything, her greatest loss will be the love she could have received from her grandchildren.

Janet Mason-Frasher

Jacksonville, Fla.

As an employer, I found it absurd that most of your article on Harry and Leona Helmsley was composed of bitter comments from former employees. The American employer has a hard enough time as it is, without seeing role models chastised by your magazine for demanding excellence in job performance. Incidentally, what did the patients at New York Hospital, which was given a $33 million donation by the Helmsleys, have to say about them?

Jim McGee

Dothan, Ala.

Between whining employees and the IRS, it is a wonder free enterprise exists at all in America. Since the queen in this country buys her own towels, she should still be allowed to use as many as it takes!

Doris Lechler

Columbus, Ohio

I am a firm believer in the free-enterprise system, and I have admired many businessmen and women who can amass huge fortunes, keep their integrity and pay their just dues to our country. My husband and I have paid our taxes in full and on time every year of our adult lives. I am more than willing to pay my fair share to enable our country to maintain our way of life. I have seen small businesses padlocked, property confiscated and owners stripped of their assets by the IRS for nonpayment of taxes. However, if Harry and Leona Helmsley are able to buy their way out of this mess with only a minuscule fine, I will be very disillusioned with our income tax system and will be tempted to join a taxpayers’ revolt.

Lucien Ferguson

Millsboro, Del.

Gang Violence

Frankly, I’m depressed. I can’t believe that kids so young can talk about life and death the way the gang members you interviewed did. “I seen a lot of Crips die and it looks easy.” That sentence alone was enough to make me cry. How are these kids going to end up, or worse yet, where are they going to end up? I wish them luck, while I count my lucky stars for the life I have (and often take for granted).

Rosa Ricciardi


Take One

Not surprisingly, Bruce Springsteen knows the difference between the famous and the infamous. Fawn Hall had chutzpah to even ask the Boss for an audience. It’s time Miss Hall realized that she’s a very offensive person to anyone with a conscience. For those of us who respect this country’s principles, Miss Hall communicated more than enough when she testified before Congress.

Ann Robbins

San Jose, Calif.

Bravo to Sharon Gless for seeking whatever help she might need. She should know that she has the love and support not only of those close to her but also of the millions of fans whose faces she’ll never see but whose lives she has touched through her work. I hope she takes strength from that knowledge, says to hell with the press and gets well. We’re all rooting for her.

Nancy Lutzow

Mountain View, Calif.

Conan Owen

I would like to congratulate PEOPLE for its informative article about Conan Owen’s desperate situation in Spain. It is quite disturbing to know that American citizens traveling abroad need to worry not only about being taken hostage by terrorists but also about being taken hostage by foreign governments—supposedly friendly governments at that. American citizens considering vacationing outside the U.S. would do well to think twice before choosing to visit a country like Spain, which considers one guilty until proven innocent. I do have one question: What can ordinary fellow citizens do to help Mr. Owen? Is there a defense fund to which we can contribute?

Dirk Miller

Falls Church, Va.

Yes. Contributions can be sent to: Conan D. Owen Defense Fund, P.O. Box 5172, McLean, Va. 22103—ED.

Picks & Pans

Every time Geraldo Rivera has a human interest story, someone throws a stone at this well-deserving journalist. He just knows how to get the viewers’ attention. Reporting is about reality, fact, human suffering and compassion. I call it straight talk. I’d put him up with Donahue and Oprah anytime.

Carol Hug

Bryan, Ohio

Thank you, Jeff Jarvis, for coming out and telling about the horrible things Geraldo Rivera is doing on television. Why is he allowed to come into our homes with his specials and daily talk show, which are the lowest of the low?

Dorothy Turney

Lima, Ohio

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