The city of Sacramento has a policy of seizing unclaimed property for its own use if the property is not claimed by its rightful owners by an arbitrary deadline set by the city. Despite this severe policy, the city does almost nothing to let people know when their property is being held.
The city's unclaimed property list includes approximately 15,000 entries, totaling nearly $2 million, and the city has imposed a June 25 deadline for the rightful owners to make a claim, regardless of how long the city has been holding the property.
Sacramento's finance director says the city doesn't have the resources to try to contact the owners, but claims that the city has "made every effort to return that property" by using newspaper ads and social media to notify the public.
The list includes many easy-to-find entities and people, including: the Sacramento Kings basketball team, which has been in close negotiations with city officials for a new arena; Rush Limbaugh, who broadcasts his contact information repeatedly during his daily radio show; the city of West Sacramento; the State Treasurer's Office, which the city apparently can't find to return a check worth $9,610; the State Board of Equalization; the Franchise Tax Board; the Sacramento County Sheriff; and many more.
KCRA News contacted the Sacramento Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, which is owed $350 by the city, most likely from overpaid utility bills. No one from the city told the SPCA, Executive Director Rick Johnson said. "We have been around here since 1894," Mr. Johnson said. "And we're not hard to find."
(CalTax: We recommend searching the unclaimed property lists maintained by cities, counties and the state to see if you are owed money. The state's policy is much different than Sacramento's – the state does not seize the unclaimed property it holds, and the state controller makes an effort to contact the rightful owners.) (Sources: City of Sacramento unclaimed property list; KCRA News, May 30; and CBS-13 News, May 30.)
June 8, 2012
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