Hoarding isn't just for the average American, whose possessions, while numerous, often amount to little more than stacks of decaying newspapers and several hundred pounds of Russian nesting dolls. Hoarders can also be fantastically wealthy—imagine if the newspapers were piles of designer clothes and the nesting dolls were actually sloppy stacks of important financial documents.
Such was the case for Lewis David Zagor, a Wall Street titan who died last year, DNAinfo reports. Despite his obscene wealth, he'd spent 38 years living among his detritus in a rent-controlled apartment on Park Avenue, the final decade of those years with his third wife, Valentina Phillips-Zagor. And she'd be in pretty good shape, too, if not for a couple extenuating circumstances: 1) She's been locked out of the apartment since May. 2) Most of her late husband's paperwork regarding his sizable bank and brokerage accounts are still in that apartment, swimming around in a pile in his office. 3) He didn't leave a will.
“You have no idea the amount of wealth that is in the apartment,” Phillips-Zagor told the news site. “The most important are the financial documents.”
The apartment lock-out is apparently due to the fact that she hasn't forked over rent in several months, which has gone from its rent-controlled price at $1,640.85 per month to market rate. Unfortunately for Phillips-Zagor, she hadn't managed to clean out the office before she was locked out, and now, MSMC Residential Realty has launched a court battle to recoup its back rent.
Phillips-Zagor retaliated by filing her own petition, asserting that her husband's estate is worth $18 million and that she's the only beneficiary—a tidy sum she isn't eligible to access until the case is sorted out in surrogate's court. But no matter: Phillips-Zagor would rather battle the building's management company in court than clean up her husband's house.
“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,” she said.
Among the piles of fancy clothes, DNAinfo also reports Zagor's expansive collection of stuffed pandas, boxes and guns! He died of heart and kidney failure at Mt. Sinai, where he refused to be moved to a private room because his insurance covered his double.