George Konnight was living “off the grid” alone in a home in Rockland County, New York, with no indoor plumbing or heat, but it turns out the 79-year-old hermit, who was recently found dead, could have afforded so much more.
The skeletal remains of Konnight were recently found outside his home, according to the Journal News. Upon his death, it was revealed the man who hadn’t visited a doctor in decades and who only had one light in his home recently became a millionaire.
The newspaper reported that Konnight had $3 million in the bank after a sale in November of his family’s 31.5 acres in Ramapo, New York, to JIEM Properties.
“He lived a very simple life, hermit-like,” Ramapo Detective Lt. Mark Emma told the Journal News of the man found dead last week. “He had his attorney and another man looking in on him now and again. He was alone.”
Thomas O’Connell, a lawyer who worked with the family for more than a decade, told the Journal News Konnight and his sisters lived in their childhood home, not holding jobs but selling pieces of their family’s 200 acres of land in the area for money. It’s something O’Connell said the Konnight’s parents did as well.
He added that the recent sale of property was to help pay off $130,000 of property taxes. Konnight’s two sisters died within the last couple years.
“They wanted to stay where they were because they enjoyed their bucolic lifestyle, being isolated and surrounded by trees with deer running through the yard,” O’Connell told the Journal News. “Their only overhead was taxes. They didn’t have a lawyer helping them out. They didn’t want to get involved with the government. They just couldn’t keep up with the taxes.”
Some locals have memories of the reclusive family. Beverly Moore, a 75-year-old woman who claims to be a distance cousin of the Konnights, told the newspaper that she hadn’t seen them since a funeral in 1973.
“They ran a farm,” Moore said. “They kept to themselves. They didn’t ask anyone for anything, as far as I know.”
Eugene Erickson, 82, who has been a neighbor to the Konnights since the 1950s, said when she would say “hello” she “maybe got a wave” in response.
All in all, O’Connell said Konnight had “everything to live for.”
“Under the Affordable Care Act, he was able to get insurance so I had just gotten him an insurance card,” O’Connell said. “He had just gotten a clean bill of health. I brought him to the doctor in May for the first time since he was 12 years old and had his tonsils taken out.”
An autopsy is being conducted on Konnight’s remains, but the medical examiner’s office told the newspaper the man’s death is not thought to be suspicious.