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Department Distributes More than $161,000 in Unclaimed Cash to School for the Deaf and Blind

6/16/2003

CONTACT:Tami Torres
(850) 413-2842

TALLAHASSEE—Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher today announced that more than $161,000 in cash has been paid to the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind. The money was discovered through the Department of Financial Services' Unclaimed Property program as having been held in trust for the school since 1995. The money was remitted to the state in 2002.

The trust was created by Edna Viola Flint of Volusia County in 1985. She willed portions of her estate to several organizations, including the School for the Deaf and Blind. However, upon her death in 1995, the amount earmarked for the school was never distributed.

"I commend our staff for locating this trust and helping to fulfill Ms. Flint's wish to help the hearing and visually impaired," Gallagher said.

"It is through donors like Mrs. Edna Flint that our students have access to equipment they need to learn, such as Braille notetakers, and can obtain scholarships to post-secondary programs after graduation," said Dillingham, the school's president. "We commend the Department of Financial Services for their persistence in making sure Ms. Flint's final wishes were honored."

The School for the Deaf and Blind is located in St. Augustine, FL. Founded in 1885, the school is a state-funded public boarding school for eligible hearing-impaired and visually-impaired students, pre-school through 12th grade. During the 2002-03 school year, more than 800 students were enrolled from 54 Florida counties.

Last year, nearly $160 million was turned over to the state as unclaimed property and more than $73 million was returned back to the rightful owners or heirs. The department's Unclaimed Property program is currently holding almost $900 million in unclaimed property. Most of the property comes from dormant accounts in financial institutions, deposits paid to utility companies, insurance premium refunds, safe deposit boxes and trust holdings. In addition to cash and securities, the state's holdings include property such as watches, jewelry, coins, stamps and historical items.

Unclaimed cash is deposited into a state school fund and is used exclusively for public education. Property is auctioned annually with the proceeds going to benefit public schools.

The next auction will be held August 16 at the Marriott Tampa West Shore, in Tampa. More than 10,000 items will be auctioned, including a 4.5 carat diamond engagement ring.

Individuals may claim cash or property belonging to them at any time and at no cost. Log-on to www.fldfs.com to search the department's online database of unclaimed property or for more information on the upcoming auction. Floridians may also call 1-88-VALUABLE.