Some luck of the Irish was bestowed on Irish Eyes Pub and Restaurant and Angler’s Marina in Lewes, Aug. 17, when a helicopter hovered over the gravel parking lot dropping cash.
Irish Eyes server Tina Chaippini said she heard the helicopter getting closer and worried it might crash into the parking lot. “And then I saw people running,” she said.
Chaippini said people were running towards the helicopter and returning with fistfuls of money.
Server Billy Anderson said it was a busy Saturday afternoon, and he suddenly noticed customers pointing at the sky. “I’m hearing, ‘Crash, crash.’ What they’re saying is, ‘Cash, cash,’” Anderson said.
He said people took off running toward the marina. “A helicopter swooped down and literally threw cash,” he said.
Anderson said everyone who came back with money had $20 and $50 bills.
Irish Eyes bar-back Anthony Guzzetti said he sprinted for the cash with about 50 other people. “I was like, ‘Is this happening?’” he said. “It was so weird.”
Guzzetti said he collected about $100. He also said he saw people swimming in the Lewes Rehoboth Canal to grab bills that had landed in the water.
Irish Eyes Manager Kara Miele said she was upstairs when she saw the helicopter swoop down; she said she thought it was planning to land. “It was just getting lower and lower and circling and circling, and then it started dropping money,” she said.
Miele said she picked up $170.
Del Walsh, son of Angler’s Marina owner James B. Walsh, said Leonard Maull was behind the stunt. Maull, who died about a year ago, owned a home in Lewes and operated Henlopen Bait and Tackle on Savannah Road.
“I’ve known him my whole life,” Walsh said.
Maull's trustee, Rehoboth Beach certified public accountant Bill Berry, said Maull left the request in his trust.
According to Berry, Maull ordered $10,000 in equal denominations of $5, $10, $20 and $50 bills be dropped from an airplane flying over the marina one year after his death on a Saturday during the summer.
"It was his money, and I figured he could do what he wanted to do with it," Berry said.
Walsh said Maull docked his own boat at Angler’s and visited the marina at least once a day. He said he does not know what motivated Maull to include the request in his will. “I would’ve never thought Leonard would do anything like this,” he said.
Walsh, who found $40 in the nearby marsh Aug. 18, said there is still money to be found. “If you can get to it, there’s cash in those woods,” he said.
“The craziest thing I ever saw,” said Irish Eyes bartender Jon Siddons. “Money was floating everywhere.” Siddons said the Pirates of Lewes Expedition had docked shortly before the helicopter showed up. “A couple little kids got a couple hundred dollars,” he said.
Food-runner Mark Tappan said, “I was eating chicken wings and watching money fall from the clouds.”
(Editor's note: This version replaces comments by a acquaintance of Leonard Maull with those of an accountant who is trustee for Maull.)