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Thursday, December 25, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 34.0° F  Overcast
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Unexpected windfalls for Dane County residents

In last Thursday's Wisconsin State Journal, the state Treasurer's Office ran a huge list of Dane County residents who have unclaimed property valued at $50 or more. (An affiliated website gives additional info on the identity of the "holder," but only the rightful owner can learn what exactly is being held.)

Among the recognizable names: Local attorneys Bob Gingras, Michael Wittenwyler and Mike Short (Short thinks he may have overpaid a medical bill); local NARAL executive director Lisa Subeck (something to do with an insurance policy); Mother Fool's proprietor Jon Hain (the holder is eBay, which Hain uses, but he doesn't know why it would have his property); restaurateur Marsh Shapiro (insurance policies); famed UW-Madison transplant surgeon Hans Sollinger (from a global marketing company); and famed UW-Madison ethicist Norm Fost (something from Exxon Mobile, perhaps not a standard-bearer when it comes to ethics).

Almost all the folks contacted by Isthmus hadn't otherwise learned of their good fortune. Madison Magazine columnist John Roach subsequently confirmed his property is a residual check for The Straight Story, a 1999 film he cowrote. "I owe you a drink," he says. Promises, promises.

The listing also contains two entries (for property held by John Hancock Life Insurance Co.) for someone named Paul Oglin, whose address just happens to be the former work address of a former Madison mayor.

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