Palace Coup

Michael Moss, Author
Michael Moss, Author Doubleday Books $18.95 (346p) ISBN 978-0-385-24973-7
Reviewed on: 02/27/1989
Release date: 03/01/1989
Moss's devastating, bruising bio delivers paydirt as it follows a sinister trail of lawsuits, takeovers, big deals and shady doings by New York real estate tycoons Harry and Leona Helmsley. His souped-up prose can turn wickedly sly: ``It seems that Leona had discovered the Fifth Avenue way of bargain shopping: don't pay sales taxes.'' A business reporter for Newsday , Moss makes Leona, 68, the villain of this cotton-to-cashmere tale of greed and thirst for power: the ambitious hatter's daughter from Brooklyn (born Lena Rosenthal) comes off as a tyrannical, ambushing manager, a gold-digger whose grab for ultimate control over the Helmsley empire may prove its undoing. Her reserved, workaholic hubby is seen as a hated landlord who spent a lifetime figuring out ways to pay as low wages and taxes as possible. And the posturing, litigious couple had a knack for ``racking up enemies like bowling pins.'' (Apr.)
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