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Drug use was reason for firing, Helmsley says

SHARE Drug use was reason for firing, Helmsley says

NEW YORK (AP) — Leona Helmsley testified Tuesday that she fired the manager of one of her hotels because he used drugs, not because he is gay as he claims in a $40 million lawsuit.

"I don't permit dope for any reason at any hotel I own," Helmsley said.

Charles Bell, 48, alleges Helmsley verbally abused him and fired him as manager of Manhattan's Park Lane Hotel when she learned he was gay.

On Tuesday, Helmsley, 82, testified she has never dismissed anybody because of sexual orientation. She said Bell's alleged drug use surfaced after she confronted him about his frequent crying.

Bell's attorney, Geri Krauss, said Bell was never questioned about drug use while he worked at the hotel.