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May 22, 2014

Delaware Media Again Focuses on Delaware’s Unclaimed Property Program–Highlights ILR’s Harold Kim

In the second major news story this week in the Wilmington News-Journal, ILR’s Harold Kim weighs in on questions about the state’s unclaimed property program.

This latest story focuses on the hundreds of millions of dollars paid to politically-connected “law firms…hired to help shore up the state’s budget with cash from out-of-state businesses incorporated here.”

“The big-money contracts are part of the state’s growing reliance on hundreds of millions of dollars from Delaware’s unclaimed property program,” writes The News-Journal’s Jonathan Starkey.

“NFL football players don’t get those types of contracts,” said Harold Kim, executive vice president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for Legal Reform, which has been critical of the way Delaware runs its abandoned property program.

A News-Journal story that ran May 19 also focused on the auditors employed by the state as part of this program. That story noted that, “the state’s contract auditor, Kelmar Associates, collects, “up to 12 percent of any recoveries through their corporate audits.”

“There seems to be a business model by these auditors to be as aggressive as possible to make it as cumbersome as possible, as unreasonable and to force and leverage some type of settlement,” said Kim in that story.

Legislation was recently introduced in the Delaware Senate that would, “disallow commission-based contracting for escheat (unclaimed property).”

ILR recently released a white paper, “Unclaimed Property: Best Practices for State Administrators and the Use of Private Audit Firms,” which includes suggested best practices designed to maximize the appropriate collection of unclaimed property while protecting and balancing the legitimate interests of consumers, companies and the state.

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