A representative from State Treasurer John Perdue’s office, D.C. Conant, will be at Mom’s Place Too, Main St., Grantsville, on Thursday, July 26.
Conant will set up his laptop at the restaurant, owned by Lisa Cooper, 55, who has operated the diner for seven years.
Cooper said that she was especially willing to let Conant perform unclaimed searches for patrons, because, thanks to a Treasurer’s Office Unclaimed Property publication, she had returned to her a $2,200 unclaimed property check from the sale of a children’s book she wrote several years ago.
Her mom spied Lisa’s name in the publication and told her.
Called “The Barnyard Café,” the book tells of a big dinner planned at the barnyard for the nearby wilderness critters. Everyone is invited, except the mean, grouchy fox, who can’t be trusted.
Finally, Mom Mouse relents and lets the fox attend, to discover the root of his grumpiness: a toothache. A dental repair and a bath later, the fox is good to go and an unmenacing houseguest.
“It’s a good message for children,” said Cooper, who also did the art illustrations. The text is in rhyme. She modeled characters from her own family members.
The only problem was, back in 2010, she maintained a few different bank accounts and didn’t see the need for all of them.
One that met its end was supposed to receive the royalty money from the book. “There was no place for the money to go,” she said of the check.
Besides Cooper’s check, her mother received an unclaimed property check from Humana, and her daughter an un-refunded deposit from Mountaineer Natural Gas.
Unclaimed property is any asset from which an individual has become unintentionally separated. A classic example is a non-refunded utility deposit, as are left-behind safe deposit box contents.
Cooper has endured a rough patch in the past 10 or so years. Her son was killed in a car wreck and her aunt died from injuries suffered in one.
With her check, she said she bought an outbuilding for her mother–“she loves to look at her stuff”–and has used the remainder for the constant expense inherent in running a small, rural business.
“Taxes are so high, property taxes and everything,” said Cooper. “Any extra money helps.”