State Treasurer Michael Fitzgerald says his office has been asked to help find the 61,558 people who have unpaid claims.
He says Des Moines had to repay around $31 million of franchise fees and there ‘s still $12 million that have not been paid. Fitzgerald’s office started the Great Iowa Treasure Hunt in 1983 to return unclaimed property to Iowans.
The district court judge in the Des Moines case asked him to use the site to help out. He says the judge has given the Great Iowa Treasure Hunt 18 months to look for the people and to try and return the money. Fitzgerald says there are many businesses in town which have claims coming.
“The average is probably going to be a little over $100 — maybe a 150. But the minimum amount people are going to get back if you are on the list is $10,” Fitzgerald says. “The largest amount we have on the list is $300,000.” That $300,000 amount is owed to ConAgra. He says it’s easy to find out if you have money coming.
“We have all the names on our website Greater Iowa Treasure Hunt.gov. Just punch in your name,” he says. The site will tell you after you put in your name if you have any money coming. Fitzgerald says it was a bit of a surprise to see so many Des Moines businesses on the list.
He says there are a lot of reasons why people might not have gotten the notice, as sometimes addresses get typed in wrong. “Quite frankly, a lot of people get sent a claim notice and they think it’s junk mail and they just don’t believe it,” according to Fitzgerald.
He says for any claims under $250, you can make a claim and get the check within one week. Claims over $250 will take around three to four weeks to process.