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New York Millionaire Leaves $100,000 Trust Fund for 32 Cockatiels

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A Manhattan billionaire has left a $100,000 inheritance to her 32 cockatiels.

Leslie Ann Mandel named her stepson, Matthew Herzog, as the trustee of the bird fund and left him with detailed instructions on how to divide the nest egg among the birds.

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“It is my wish that the birds be fed and the building cleaned each Monday and Thursday and their food shall be purchased from Avi-Cakes, carrots, water and popcorn,” the will reads.

Avi-Cakes is a brand of natural bird feed, and a 20-pound bag costs $150.

The will also states that the birds are to remain in the "avery" inside her $4 million East Hampton property, but they can be moved to “a protected place of similar size and dimension, made of the same materials, without a cage, for the rest of their natural lives.”

Mandel died in June at the age of 69 after being admitted to a hospital for kidney stones. She had run The Rich List Company, a fund-raising firm which at one point had the largest private mailing list in the country.

The will lists Wheetie, Port, Blackie, Zippy, Tara, Shasha, Pigeon, Victory, Alie, Zack 12, Dart, Cubby, Max, Baby, Ruthie, Pumpkin, Tattoo, Susie, Tracy, Margie, Sammy, Angel, Inky, Sara, Tundra, Tanteleah, Cody, Nicki, Avis and Dragon as recipients.  

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The recipients of the rest of her $5.3 million fortune, however, remains a mystery.

In 2005, Mandel left it to her husband and sci-fi writer Arthur Herzog or to her stepson Matthew if Arthur died before her. In 2006, she crossed out Arthur’s name and replaced it with her sister Avis’s.

After Mandel’s death, Avis submitted the marked-up will to Manhattan Surrogate Court claiming the original had been “obliterated.”

Avis’s lawyer John Morken said the marked note will not be valid, but that Avis and her other sister, Tracy, are entitled to the money as Mandel’s living relatives. Arthur declined a request to comment from the New York Post.

The parties are due in court next month.

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