Kennedy was to be the guest of Rotarian Mindy Head. Filling in for Kennedy, who could not attend due to a last minute meeting, were Ron Henson, First Assistant to Kennedy, and Kathleen Lobell, Director of Unclaimed Properties in the Louisiana Department of the Treasury.
"We have three main divisions in our department, which is not part of the state's Revenue department," Henson explained.
The main functions of the treasury department include the Fiscal Division, which administers the backbone of the state's cash management program, providing an accounting of all receipts and controlling fund disbursements.
The Bond Commission monitors all public debt. It receives applications from parishes, municipalities, special taxing districts and other political entities of the state, requesting authority to incur debt or levy taxes.
The Investments division monitors all money collected in fees and revenues and invests it. This division is constrained by the La. Constitution (of 1974, Article VII, Section 8). All money goes into a General Fund.
"One of the first things Treasurer Kennedy did was approach the Legislature during the first Special Session in 2000, and ask to transfer the Unclaimed Properties division from the Department of Revenue to the Department of the Treasury," Henson explained. "The nature of the program is important to the people of Louisiana."
"Created in 1972, the Unclaimed Properties Program has collected over $866 million in unclaimed property and refunded more than $288 million to the citizens of Louisiana," said Program Director Kathleen Lobell.
She explained that unclaimed property can include payroll checks, checking and savings accounts, royalties, utility deposits, interest, dividends, stock certificates and life insurance proceeds.
Over 90 percent of total refunds have occurred since Kennedy took over the program.
Lobell said the Treasury still has about $578 million that needs to be claimed. "A person has much better odds finding unclaimed property than he or she would have winning the lottery," Lobell said. "One in six has unclaimed property and the average refund is about $300 to $400. Plus, we get new money every day."
Lobell said the largest amount ever refunded was to a New Orleans woman for $1 million.
To find out if you have unclaimed property, call 1-888-925-4127 or visit www.latreasury.com.
There are currently 995,937 names on the unclaimed property website.