Friday, December 27, 2002

Court holds $1.9M in unclaimed funds

By Dan Klepal
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Jim Cissell, Hamilton County Clerk of Courts, announced Thursday that he is holding more than $1.9 million in unclaimed funds from foreclosures, appropriations and other cases.

The funds are made up of cash remaining in cases after the payment of all court orders and costs were made.

  A list of the cases and amounts being held are available at the Clerk of Courts' Web site: by clicking on the link titled "Excess Fund Process."

Most of the cases were filed after 1986, but some date to the 1970s. They range from a low of $8 to a high of $138,000 in unclaimed funds.

Mr. Cissell said he will send out 576 notices to defendants in cases where there is $100 or more being held, and where property was the subject of the cases.

"As far as I know, nobody has ever done this before," Mr. Cissell said. "It's important that people take a close look. Any claims against those funds would have to be satisfied before they are released."

Before receiving any unclaimed funds, the party to the case must obtain a court order from the common pleas judge presiding in that case or, if that judge is no longer active, from the presiding judge of the Common Pleas Court.

Here is a general outline of the process that must be followed:

Determine whether the amount being held is worth the time and expense of this process, then decide if it is appropriate to hire an attorney.

Prepare an "Application for the Distribution of Excess Funds," in which you state your claim for whatever funds you think are owed. File the application in Room 315 of the Hamilton County Courthouse at the Civil Case Cost Desk.

Serve a copy of the application to every party in the case. This is a mandatory step. The names of these parties (or their attorneys) can be found in the case docket.

Prepare a presentation for the judge. You must explain to the court why you are entitled to the funds. You must also show that the other parties were sent a copy of the application and had the opportunity to contest the claim.


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