Even wealthy people can use some extra cash like WordPerfect founders Raymond Noorda and Bruce Bastian.
Those are just two of the 25,000 Utahns who are on the new Utah state treasurer's unclaimed property list, now out.
Noorda and Bastion likely have more money than they need. But they and all the other lucky Utahns on the list (contained in a 48-page insert in the Deseret News and Salt Lake Tribune on Wednesday and at up.utah.gov) can find out what is waiting for them, and how they can claim it, by calling the state's Unclaimed Property Division at 801-320-5360.
The Deseret News tried to call that number several times Thursday, but it was always busy. So if your name is on the list, you may have to be patient.
Unclaimed property comes in various forms, most often financial instruments like lost paychecks, deposits of various types (like on a utility bill), small amounts left in a savings account or checking account and forgotten. No real property, like a house, is in the unclaimed property process.
It is not the job of the Unclaimed Property Division to recognize names on the list and try to contact those individuals, although staffers do look through the list to see if they know any of the lucky Utahns.
That informal vetting can lead to the listing of some fairly well-known people whose unclaimed property comes from some logical places.
Take Randy Dryer, for example.
A well-known local attorney, Dryer's unclaimed property address is the president's office at the University of Utah. Dryer is the chairman of the U.'s board of trustees, the citizen group that oversees all U. operations.
"Really, I have some money?" said an excited Dryer when notified by the newspaper Thursday. "I saw that thick stuffer in the newspaper (headlined "Go Ahead, Make My Day") but I didn't look at it. I didn't think I was owed anything.
"I have no idea what it could be, other than my per-meeting check I get for serving on the (U.'s) board. But I just routinely give that check back to the U. as a donation."
Dryer said this must be his lucky week. A few days ago he got an IRS refund check from the federal government for $1.14. "I'm going to frame that one, it isn't worth cashing. Maybe this (state unclaimed property) will be more. But how could the University of Utah's (president's office) not know who I am?"
Also on the list is state Rep. Carl Wimmer, R-Herriman. "I'm the only Carl Wimmer in the state, as far as I know," said Wimmer when notified by the newspaper.
Wimmer serves on the House's Revenue and Taxation committee, but that doesn't seem to count for much, either.
Alter or his staff sometimes appear before that committee. "You would think he would know the sitting legislators on that committee. But then there are a lot of people" on the unclaimed property list, Wimmer said, adding he, too, had no idea where the money the state is holding for him may have come from.
(Wimmer later found out that his was a check from a car dealership where he recently purchased two vehicles. Wimmer doesn't know why he would get a check. "But, hey, that (dealer) has my current address," Wimmer said.)
Others on the list include: Derek Parra, Olympic gold medalist in skating; the late state Sen. Eddie Mayne, D-West Valley, (heirs can claim property of family members); and Deseret News/KSL-TV pollster Dan Jones. Also on the list are longtime journalists Dennis Lythgoe and Scott Iwasaki of the Deseret News and Salt Lake Tribune writer Tom Wharton.
Unclaimed property administrator Kim Oliver said about 25 percent of this year's claims are coming because a life insurance firm Prudential Properties converted from a policyholder format to a stockholder format. Thousands of policy owners could no longer be found by the firm for their payouts.
"Maybe your mom or dad bought you a life insurance policy when you were a little kid," said Oliver. "You've moved since then and Prudential couldn't find you" when the ownership policies were cashed out. "So if you think you were with this firm, you could be getting something."
She said Utahns should check the Web site, not just the printed newspaper insert. The Web site also contains unclaimed property from previous years. The 25,000 names in Wednesday's insert represented just unclaimed property that came in to the state since October 2007.
Alter's office invests unclaimed property money which annually exceeds $100 million in total. Once a year his office confers with the state finance division to decide how much of the unclaimed property has little or no chance of being claimed, then that amount is transferred to the Uniform School Fund to help pay for public education across the state. Last year's total was $18 million.
If you have some unclaimed property, the state does not pay interest for holding it. However, if that property is a stock, which has been receiving dividends, then the real owner will get those dividends, Oliver said.
In a 2005 story on unclaimed property recipients, the newspaper quoted Hispanic activist Tony Yapias saying it is unfortunate that the state uses Social Security numbers as the main citizen I.D. to verify someone's property claim. Most illegal immigrants, many of them Hispanics, don't have a Social Security number. And though they are probably lower-income and could really use that little extra money, they can't get it even if it is owed them.