A hoarder living in a New York City rent-controlled apartment left behind an $18 million fortune when he died late last year, but his widow says she’s unable to find the papers outlining the location of the fortune because it’s trapped underneath loads of stuff.
Lewis David Zagor died in December at the age of 77 and prior to his death, he made millions of dollars from investments on Wall Street. He chose, however, to live modestly, paying $1,641 a month for his Upper East Side apartment. Instead of spending his riches on a more lavish place to live, Zagor spent money on expensive items and traveled around the world with his wife.
Zagor hoarded all of the items, however, and now that his wife is trying to locate documents, she says they’re buried under all the stuff that he amassed over the years.
“You have no idea the amount of wealth that is in the apartment,” said the man’s third wife, Valentina Phillips-Zagor. “The most important are the financial documents.”
Phillips-Zagor says she’s been locked out of the apartment since May because the building’s management company changed the locks. They wanted to charge her market rate for rent once her husband died, and because she had already moved into a different apartment after her husband’s death, she hadn’t yet been able to sort through the financial documents when they locked the apartment.
Last month, the management company MSMC Residential Reality went to court to ask a judge to appoint a public administrator as overseer of Zagor’s estate so that they could get the $5,000 he owes them in rent. Phillips-Zagor, however, has filed a petition claiming that she is the sole beneficiary of her late husband’s estate and that it is worth nearly $18 million. She says she’s happy to let MSMC help go through the wealthy investor’s estate rather than clean it up herself.
“I said, 'You go to the court. You go to the apartment and go through the ocean of papers and you will file the petition to become the executor,’” said Phillips-Zagor.