Unclaimed riches - or at least a few dollars - may be waiting for a Lawrence area resident to claim them at the Kansas State Treasurer's office.
More than 160 Lawrence residents, who may or may not still live here, are owed money from cashed-out stock with MetLife Inc., formerly known as Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. The treasurer's office currently has a total of 165,346 shares of MetLife stock worth $8.13 million as of Monday.
A check of names in the state's computer data base for unclaimed property shows that Lawrence is one of the top five locations in Kansas with people listed as having MetLife stock, Treasurer Lynn Jenkins said.
"My suspicion is there was a very effective door-to-door life insurance salesman in your area," Jenkins said during a visit to the Journal-World Friday. "There was a particularly high number of these life insurances sold here in Douglas County."
The old Metropolitan Life company transformed itself from mutual to stock ownership in April 2000 through demutualization. Owners of the insurance policies received a minimum distribution equal to 10 MetLife Inc. common stock shares and a variable number of additional shares based on the value of their policy. The treasurer's office received two reports from MetLife, one in 2003 and one in 2005.
The 2003 report had 251,000 shares of stock and more than $1.298 million worth of dividends. Any stock from that report has been sold, but the owner will receive the cash value of the stock when they claim it, Jenkins said.
There are 182,768 shares of stock valued at $213,022 in dividends from the 2005 report. Because of legal requirements, the stock must be sold in October or November if it is still under the control of the treasurer.
The treasurer has already returned more than $1.57 million in liquidated stock shares.
A list of names of people who last had a Lawrence address was supplied by the treasurer. A check of several names by the Journal-World didn't find any of them still listed in the phone book - and the Lawrence resident who was owed the most money, nearly $8,000, was apparently former KU Vice Chancellor William Balfour, who died in 2000.
"University Kansas," which is owed $2,705.88, is still around, however.
In addition to the MetLife stock, the treasurer's office always has a stash of unclaimed properties that generally include those from inactive checking or savings accounts, insurance proceeds, mineral royalties and utility deposits.
Forgotten utility deposits are common in college towns, Jenkins said.
"There are a lot of students who put down a $50 deposit on a utility and then forget to get it back when they move," Jenkins said.
Lawrence's portion of the unclaimed property total is more than $2.43 million.
To see if your name is on the unclaimed property list, go online to www.KansasCash.com, or call (800) 432-0386. You will find a combined data base that will have the names of those with MetLife stock and other unclaimed properties. Forms to fill out for verification purposes also can be found online.