Local radio icon Howie Chizek left an estate worth more than $600,000, and most of it will go to one man.
Chizek’s last will and testament filed in Summit County Probate Court provides about $70,000 for a handful of friends and family to share.
The bulk of the estate — including Chizek’s former home in Twinsburg, his vehicle, a coin collection and all his remaining assets — go to Eric Sylvester, 27, a former St. Ignatius athlete now working for a local dairy company.
Sylvester could collect in excess of $500,000 after the other 11 beneficiaries are paid between $2,500 to $10,000 each.
Chizek, who boasted of his donations over the WNIR (100.1-FM) airwaves, did not leave any money to a charity or religious organization.
The estate is still pending and a full inventory of Chizek’s estate has yet to be filed. However, a preliminary appraisal filed with the court estimates Chizek’s personal belongings at $400,000 and his home at $256,000.
Additional assets could be identified when a full inventory of the estate is filed later this month.
Chizek, 65, suffered a heart attack and died in June while taking a group of youths on his New Adventure organization’s annual trip to Disney World. Sylvester was once a volunteer counselor for Chizek’s personally-funded youth group and had a longtime friendship with the radio personality.
Sylvester did not respond to messages this week seeking comment on Chizek’s estate. Becky Blair, a Cleveland-area lawyer representing the estate, said neither she nor any of the beneficiaries would comment on the will.
According to the will, Chizek’s brother Larry will receive $10,000 plus a share of a water color art collection. A nephew will receive the other half of the art collection plus $2,500. The value of paintings was not identified in court papers.
Larry Chizek did not respond to an email message seeking comment.
Two other nephews and a niece also receive $2,500.
The six remaining beneficiaries are Chizek’s friends whom he met through his annual Florida trips or at St. Ann’s Church in Cleveland Heights, where he worked as a volunteer football coach.
The six men will receive between $10,000 and $5,000 each.
Chizek, who starred on the local talk radio scene for more than 30 years, was a lifelong bachelor and had no children.
Why Chizek chose to give the majority of his estate to Sylvester is unclear.
Friends say Chizek was close to the Sylvester family, which included Eric and his brothers, Brian and Marc. The men were once all athletes at St. Ignatius High School in Cleveland.
Eric Sylvester was a swimmer and runner who went on to attend Miami University. He now works at Miceli’s, a Cleveland-based dairy company. Years ago, Sylvester was a counselor on some of the Disney World trips organized by Chizek.
“Howie always said Eric would get everything,” said a friend, who asked not to be identified. “Howie had a lot of kids he became close to, but I don’t know why Eric was the beneficiary.”
Aside from New Adventure and St. Ann’s, Chizek raised money through his radio show every Christmas season. His Helping Hands program provides gift cards for those in need. WNIR is currently collecting donations for the program.
Phil Trexler can be reached at 330-996-3717 or firstname.lastname@example.org.