- Sep 4, 2004
Curse? Gardener didn't live to enjoy cash he found
The death of a McHenry County man, just days before he was to collect some of the $150,000 he found in his garden, is causing some to wonder if his elderly neighbor was right all along.
She said the money was cursed.
Wayne Sabaj, 51, was an unemployed carpenter when he reported finding the bags of cash while picking broccoli in August 2011. He was due to enter into a settlement in court on July 11 that would have split the windfall between him and the neighbor, said his lawyer, Robert Burke.
The neighbor, Delores Johnson, whose daughter had also made a claim for the money on her behalf, also died before the mystery was settled. Johnson, who had dementia and died in December at 87, told her daughter that "she had gotten rid of the money because it was cursed," said Burke, quoting court records.
"Apparently, she was right. The money is cursed," Burke said.
Sabaj died of complications related to diabetes at his home Monday night, according to the McHenry County coroner. Sabaj's son found him, Burke said.
Sabaj's father, learning of his son's death, suffered cardiac arrest that same night and remained hospitalized Wednesday, Burke said.
Burke declined to provide details on the settlement, which he expects will go forward.
The owner of a Naperville liquor store had also filed a claim on the money, stating that he had been robbed of the same amount of cash in 2010. Burke said Wednesday that he has an oral and written statement from the store owner dropping claims to the money.
The mysterious cash harvest generated all kinds of speculation about its origins.
Full story at Chicago Tribune