5. According to Leona Helmsley, people would fall off the Lotte New York Palace’s original toilet seats

Room in the Palace Hotel
Room in the Lotte Palace Hotel.

Leona Helmsley, hotel manager and wife of billionaire developer Harry Helmsley, went to Richard Roth Jr. in 1971 with a list of problems she had with the hotel. One of her chief complaints was that people were falling off the hotel’s toilet seats. Roth Jr. then asked a friend staying at the hotel if he could come over and sit on the toilet to test Mrs. Helmsley’s claim. When Roth Jr. sat in the toilets, he found the seats to be the “cheapest piece[s] of nonsense ever.”

Carl Morse, head of Diesel Construction, had been tasked with sourcing only the best toilet seats, but instead, failed by purchasing cheap, inadequate seats for the level of luxury the hotel. According to Roth Jr., Morse and Mrs. Helmsley had an ongoing feud, fueled in part by the toilet seat situation. This toilet incident was indicative of Mrs. Helmsley’s ruthless management style that fuelled her legacy as “Queen of Mean.” Mrs. Helmsley would later serve 18 months in prison for tax evasion among several other charges.