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Governor John Bel Edwards sues state treasurer, John Schroder

4 years 5 months 2 weeks ago Friday, February 07 2020 Feb 7, 2020 February 07, 2020 9:15 AM February 07, 2020 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - Governor John Bel Edwards has filed a lawsuit against the state treasurer, John Schroder in an attempt to force Schroder to turn over millions of dollars in unclaimed property so it can be spent on the state budget.

According to a statement released by the Governor, the lawsuit was filed Friday morning. 

It precedes the upcoming legislative session, during which Edwards is anticipated to try and spend $25 million.

In the past, the state treasurer has transferred millions of dollars in unclaimed property to the state general fund, where it can be spent by the governor and lawmakers. 

This unclaimed property is money from neglected bank accounts, retirement accounts and other assets that are eventually taken over by the government.

But last year Schroder refused to turn over this money and said he would again refuse to turn over the funds in the upcoming budget.

He said his decision was based on the fact that the money does not belong to the state. 

This morning the governor's office responded by filing the lawsuit in Baton Rouge's 19th Judicial District court. 

In suit documents, Edwards' administration accused Schroder of "usurping the authority of the Legislature" by refusing to turn over unclaimed property funds to be spent in the budget. 

The suit also requests that a judge force Schroder to hand over the funding.

The Governor’s Executive Counsel, Matthew Block, issued the following statement:

It is unfortunate the Governor’s Office was forced to take legal action against the Treasurer to compel him to comply with the state’s approved budget, which includes the transfer of unused, excess dollars from the Unclaimed Property Fund to the State General Fund and to pay the bond obligations for I-49 transportation projects." 

"The excess money from the Unclaimed Property Fund was appropriated by the Legislature and signed into law by the Governor in HB 105. So far, the Treasurer has simply refused to transfer the money, completely flouting the will of the people’s elected representatives, their Governor and the letter of the law.

On Friday, Edwards' administration is expected to reveal its budget proposal to state lawmakers and detail exactly how it wants to spend an additional $103 million that Republican legislative leaders have refused to recognize.

Click here to view the lawsuit.

Responding to the legal action by Governor John Bel Edwards, State Treasurer John M. Schroder, issued the following statement:

"Gov. Edwards is suing me because I won't let him spend Unclaimed Property in a state budget that tops $32 billion. Actions like this make it hard for the public to have faith in the government process," said Treasurer Schroder. "Unclaimed Property isn't the state's money. It belongs to the people of Louisiana."

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