Going Once, Going Twice, Sold! CFO Sink to Auction Lost Treasure in Tampa Bay
CONTACT: Tara Klimek or Kevin Cate
TALLAHASSEE— Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink today announced that the State of Florida will auction off more than 40,000 unclaimed items estimated to be worth more than $500,000 at an upcoming auction on August 2, 2008, at the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay.
CFO Sink and Florida’s Bureau of Unclaimed Property (Bureau) were recently featured in a national Dateline NBC special returning a Purple Heart to the widow and family of a war-wounded Vietnam veteran. CFO Sink’s Bureau is one of the nation’s best in returning unclaimed property. During Sink’s tenure as CFO, she already has returned more than $322 million to the rightful owners (or heirs) of 496,374 accounts.
“Every year, the State of Florida auctions thousands of valuables, including jewelry, rare coins, sports memorabilia and historical items,” said CFO Sink, who oversees the Department of Financial Services. “I encourage everyone to come by the auction for an opportunity to bid on a piece of Florida’s lost treasure.”
The auction will feature items that have been abandoned in safe deposit boxes in financial institutions such as banks and credit unions. Proceeds from the auction will benefit Florida's public school children. Some of the thousands of unique and valuable items to be auctioned this year include:
The Bureau receives items that have been abandoned in safe deposit boxes for at least three years and spends up to two years searching for the rightful owners or heirs. The Bureau has had tremendous success in finding owners, but when owners or heirs cannot be found, the items are auctioned. While the proceeds from the auctioned items are transferred to the state's Public School Trust Fund, the money is held in the original owner’s name and can be claimed for free at any time.
Floridians can preview auction items on Friday, August 1, 2008, from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. The auction will be held on Saturday, August 2, 2008, from 10:00 a.m. until all items are sold.
Participation is open to all Floridians. To participate in the preview and auction, potential bidders will be required to register with the auctioneer and provide a valid ID with current address and refundable $100 cash deposit that can also be applied to any purchases. Most bank debit cards are permitted for payment of the $100 deposit. Payments for purchases must be made with cash, traveler's check, most bank debit cards, or cashier’s check made payable to Fisher Auction Company. For additional information on terms for participating, please visit http://www.fltreasurehunt.org/ and click on “Upcoming Auction.”
Since the program's inception 46 years ago, the Bureau has successfully reunited owners with more than $1.2 billion in unclaimed property. Over the past five years, the program has returned more than $697 million, more than 60 percent of all the money returned since the beginning of the program – due largely to aggressive efforts by the program to contact owners.
The Bureau is currently holding 7.8 million accounts, mostly from dormant accounts in financial institutions, unclaimed utility deposits, insurance benefits, premium refunds, uncashed checks and trust accounts, as well as watches, jewelry, coins, stamps and historical items from abandoned safe deposit boxes. Unclaimed property can be claimed for free at any time by the rightful owners or heirs by logging on to www.fltreasurehunt.org or by calling the Bureau at 1-88-VALUABLE. Until claimed, the unclaimed funds are transferred to the state’s School Trust Fund to benefit public schools. Since the program’s inception in 1961, more than $1.5 billion has been transferred to the fund.
CFO Sink’s Unclaimed Property Auction will be held:
Date: Saturday, August 2, 2008.
Time: Registration opens at 8:00 a.m.
Auction will begin at 10:00 a.m.
Location: Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay
2900 Bayport Drive
Tampa, FL 33607
Hotel Contact: 813-874-1234
CFO Alex Sink will be available for media interviews about the Unclaimed Property auction July 31 - August 2, 2008. For press logistics, please contact the CFO’s Press Office at 850-413-2842.
As a statewide elected officer of the Florida Cabinet, Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink oversees the Department of Financial Services, a multi-division state agency responsible for management of state funds and unclaimed property, assisting consumers who request information and help related to financial services, and investigating financial fraud. CFO Sink also serves as the State Fire Marshal.