An unusual Town Hall Meeting hosted by Councilmember Sue Ellen Loyzelle on Thursday, Mar. 27, helped Cutler Bay residents find money they didn’t know they had coming to them.
Loyzelle said that a total of 24 residents, business owners and volunteers attended the Town Hall Unclaimed Properties Workshop from 7 to 9 p.m. The workshop presenter was Michael Williams, financial specialist of the Florida Department of Financial Services, Bureau of Unclaimed Properties, who provided a 45-minute session on how to claim funds held by the state.
“On Thursday evening residents and business owners walked away with claim forms totaling $14,552.70 and the knowledge of how to look up additional claims in Florida for their business or family members as well as for other states where they may have lived previously,” Loyzelle said.
A follow-up session took place on Saturday with Loyzelle for those who could not come to the Thursday session. At that time an additional $9,447.89 in claim forms were given to the residents
Loyzelle said that the smallest claim for an individual was for $29 and the largest claim was for $8,644.78. Claims included forgotten utility deposits, refund checks, a life insurance policy from a family member who passed away, and unclaimed dividends from stocks.
“Everyone that attended walked away with a claim of some sort,” Loyzelle said.
“One of our volunteers who came to help stated that she didn’t have anything and did not want to check the website. I asked her to try it anyway so she did a search and, low and behold, she found over $4,000 for a family member who had passed. She will be able to split the funds with her brother since they both are the heirs.”
Assisting with the workshop were five teen volunteers from Cutler Bay Academy of Advanced Studies-Centennial Campus who ran the computer stations for the hands-on claim form session. Teens Nassim Coradin, Anthony Boisvert, Livan Bec, Danny Calafell, and Elis Lopez were arranged through Justin Koran, Senior High School Curriculum and Magnet Programs at the school.
“It was a good and very informative workshop and I had hoped more people would have come out,” Loyzelle said. “I heard from some at our workshop that they were not sure what it was about. When they saw the words ‘Unclaimed Property’ they thought it meant land and so they said this must be a mistake and some were leery of a scam.”
Loyzelle thanked the event sponsors, Community Bank of Florida, Weiss Serota Helfman Pastoriza Cole and Boniske, Gomez Barker and Associates Inc., and Miami’s Community Newspapers.
“The best part of the Town Hall was seeing the residents’ faces when they found money,” Loyzelle said. “One lady even got tears in her eyes when she received her claim form for over $2,000 that she did not know she had. She came from China to this country and did not know that she was supposed to get back her security deposit from the apartment she had rented, and that is what the money was from. She left very excited and overwhelmed.”