Four years ago, I wrote a column about how the state of California had passed a law to make retailers turn over any unused gift cards to the State after a set period. The law did not consider any effects on the retailer; just the fact that California was grubbing for new revenue flows and once greedy politicians see a target they can devise any rationale for why the money or new tax should be placed into their coffers. The column also explored how the State was taking money from unclaimed bank assets as if it were another revenue stream. I never thought I would get caught in the trap, but I did.
Recently after hearing that the State Controller had a website my nephew decided to go fishing on it for kicks. Surprisingly, he found there was an asset listed on the website that was under my name. It was from a cashier’s check issued by a major bank. The website had the information listed regarding the check and the person to contact at the bank. It did not take me long to contact the bank though it was in another time zone.
The bank representative I spoke to asked me if I had contacted the State of California. I asked her why I would do such. My name is Bruce Bialosky. There are no others in existence and it is obviously my asset so why would I go through their rigmarole when we can handle this between the bank and me. She was totally unfamiliar with the process to get me my money despite being the listed representative of the bank. She said she would research that and get back to me. Then I asked her the proverbial $64,000 question: since the asset had been in their hands since October, 2010, had anyone tried to contact me? She disclaimed any responsibility for that process. That is when I asked who at the bank was responsible for the unclaimed assets. She had no clue despite being the identified person on the California website. I then asked my favorite question in these situations – “May I speak to your supervisor please?”