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— Lopez says staff and budget limitations as well as aging computer systems keep the State from returning money quickly, but he explains, "When you think about education, transportation, senior care, prescription drugs, who do you think is going to be a priority?"

Because the State returns money slowly, its list may include items for which claims have already been filed. Asked why checks aren't making it into city coffers to begin with, Vogl answers, "From what we've seen, a lot of times it is a bad address. Either a piece of the address was missing or they sent it to a department address that isn't really an address that processes payments, and who knows what happened with the payment. Sometimes you get companies that paid something three years ago to an address for the City, and that is what they have in their database as a payment address for the City. But maybe whatever they are paying now is a different payment address, so that payment doesn't get to where it is supposed to be. Most of the time, there is a process for getting that money into the right hands. But if you send a payment out to the Chollas Landfill, who knows what's going to happen to it."

The City of San Diego isn't alone among local governments in having money on the unclaimed properties list. The County of San Diego has 37 items totaling just under $23,000. The City of Carlsbad has unclaimed properties worth just over $3000.

Among San Diego celebrities, former Charger great Junior Seau has $401.57 waiting for him at the state controller's office. And ex-mayor Susan Golding has yet to claim $172.81 of "pension/retirement" money.

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