Contested estate part of baffling lottery winner's case in Chicago
By The Associated Press
Published: Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013, 9:08 p.m.
CHICAGO — The widow of a Chicago lottery winner who authorities say was poisoned with cyanide has battled with his siblings over control of his estate, including his $425,000 prize money, court documents show.
Urooj Khan, who owned several dry cleaning operations and some real estate, died suddenly on July 20, just days before he was to collect his winnings from the Illinois Lottery. With no signs of trauma, authorities initially ruled he died of natural causes, but a relative came forward with suspicions that prompted a fuller examination that led to the startling conclusion that he was intentionally poisoned.
The probate court documents, reviewed by The Associated Press on Wednesday, shed no light on the circumstances of Khan's death, but they do add a layer of drama to an already baffling case. As they work to unravel the mystery, police, prosecutors and the medical examiner have revealed little, naming no suspects and declining to say if the lottery win might have presented a motive.
In another development Wednesday, a lawyer for the man's widow, Shabana Ansari, said Chicago police detectives questioned her in November for more than four hours at a police station and executed a search warrant on the two-story home where she lived with Khan.
Attorney Steven Kozicki said Ansari maintains she had nothing to do with the death of her 46-year-old husband and he has no indication that investigators might be looking at her as a potential suspect.
“In any case where a husband dies in that manner, sure they're going to talk to the spouse,” he said. “That's what they've done. ... I believe that she had nothing to do with his death. She vehemently says that she had nothing to do with his death.”
The fact that Khan died without a will opened the door to the legal tussle over his estate, which his wife says amounts to more than $1.2 million, including the prize money, his share of the dry-cleaning businesses and real estate, as well as several vehicles and a bank account.
Under Illinois law, Khan's estate would be split between his wife and 17-year-old daughter from a previous marriage.
However, Khan's brother Imtiaz and sister Meraj Khan expressed concern in court filings that Khan's daughter might not get her fair share. The siblings, who live in the Chicago area, are not staking a claim to any of the money for themselves. They initially won an order from a probate judge in September to freeze the lottery check, asserting his widow tried to cash it.
Meraj Khan is also seeking to become the legal guardian of the teen, who lives with Ansari.
The next status hearing is scheduled for Jan. 24.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Imam’s influence detailed as NYC terror trial begins
- Deal reached in Ukraine crisis talks, but U.S. remains wary of Russia’s end game
- Scientists achieve cloning advance for use in treating diseases
- Clinton donor pleads guilty in illegal campaign contributions
- Heroin-related deaths set record in Ohio
- Law firm that cleared Christie recently gave $10K to GOP governors group
- Another arrest made in abduction of N.C. prosecutor’s father
- Denver wife killed 12 minutes into 911 call, sparking inquiry
- Obamacare estimates beaten by 1M
- GAO finds just 1 percent of large partnerships audited by IRS
- Husband accused in slaying ate pot candy, police say