Real Estate & Property Law

Both winning claimants to $150K veggie garden cash stash have died, so money will go to heirs


The mystery of how a $150,000 cash stash got into vegetable garden of a suburban Chicago home may have been solved.

The money, found by an unemployed electrician in his yard in 2011, wasn’t stolen, as the owner of a nearby liquor store had hoped, following a robbery there, but was apparently hidden by an elderly neighbor who considered it cursed, according to the Chicago Tribune.

The neighbor died six months ago and Wayne Sabaj, who was to have received a portion of his find in 10 days, under an agreement with the neighbor’s daughter, recently died of complications from diabetes, says Robert Burke, the lawyer who represented Sabaj.

The money is now expected to be split between the neighbor’s estate and the son of Sabaj. The liquor store owner is expected to withdraw his claim, since the funds have been shown not to have come from a robbery.

At the time he found the money, a “totally broke” Sabaj said he had reported the cash stash to police out of concern about potential consequences if he hadn’t done so. “With my luck,” he told the Chicago Tribune, “it would’ve came from a bank robbery and I’d be charged.”

A McHenry County court has been involved in determining the rightful owner of the funds.

See also:

ABAJournal.com: “Unemployed Man Hires Lawyer After Finding Cash Totaling $150K in His Backyard”

ABAJournal.com: “Lettuce’ Case: Does $150K Veggie Garden Cash Stash Go to Finder, Neighbor or Robbery Victim?”

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