Unclaimed Funds: City of Elyria Reunited With More Than $3.4 Million
David Goodman, Director of the Ohio Department of Commerce, presented today the largest unclaimed funds payment in Ohio history to Elyria Mayor Holly Brinda. The check was for more than $3.4 million.
The department’s Division of Unclaimed Funds is focused on returning unclaimed public funds and taxpayer dollars to their proper source, especially during this time of tight budgets. Governor Kasich has asked every department in his administration to find ways to help local governments without further burdening taxpayers.
The Division recently called Mayor Brinda to let her know about the funds and sent a claim form. The mayor returned the necessary paperwork quickly and the Division worked to reunite the city with its funds.
“We’re always pleased to reunite people with their money, but we’re extremely pleased to return this large amount to the people of Elyria,” Director Goodman said. “Virtually every person or organization can have unclaimed funds from time to time and I encourage all public agencies, school districts, individuals and businesses to regularly search for and claim their unclaimed money.”
The City of Elyria joins approximately 900,000 Ohioans or organizations who have claimed their unclaimed funds. The city’s unclaimed account derived from a policy it had with Anthem Insurance Company for its employee life insurance coverage.
In 2001, Anthem, Inc. was formed when Anthem Insurance Companies converted from a mutual insurance company to a stock insurance company. This was a common practice in the previous decade known as demutualization, as many mutual insurance companies converted to stock companies. As a result, policy holders – such as the City of Elyria – received shares of company stock. The city did not invest in this company’s stock.
“On behalf of the City of Elyria and the citizens we serve, I would like to express our most sincere appreciation to the Ohio Department of Commerce for reaching out to us and reuniting us with this very significant claim,” Mayor Brinda said. “It does provide us with the unexpected and welcomed opportunity to repay some debt and fund some critical one-time needed expenditures that we would not otherwise be able to address.”
While the Anthem account was in the name of the city, the address on the account was Michael B. Keys, as the then mayor, at the city’s old address at 328 Broad Street, Elyria, OH 44035. The city moved its offices in 2004 to 131 Court Street, Elyria, OH 44035. Also in 2004, WellPoint, Inc. was formed when WellPoint Health Networks, Inc. and Anthem, Inc. merged.
Mail addressed to Michael Keys at the old city address with a return address from a company not listed as a city vendor could have been mistaken for personal information and returned. Lack of activity in the account since 2001 caused it to become dormant and the account was forwarded to the State for safekeeping.
Unclaimed funds consist of monies or the right to monies that have been dormant. These funds are reported to the State of Ohio for safekeeping until the rightful owners can be found. Some common examples include: dormant saving accounts, credit balances, investments, cashier’s checks and refunds from utility and insurance companies.
Ohioans, public agencies and businesses can search for unclaimed funds on the Division’s Online Treasure Hunt at: www.unclaimedfundstreasurehunt.ohio.gov or they can call the Division toll free at (877) 644-6823.