In late April, a guest at a Lee’s Summit hotel found $28,843 cash while out for a walk with his dog.
The bundles of cash were contained in a black stocking cap, which the guest found in a Best Western parking lot at 4825 N.E. Lakewood Way.
About a week later, the owner of the hotel formally claimed the money in Jackson County Circuit Court. But the man walking his dog who originally found it has a “superior claim” to the money, according to Zach Cartwright, chief of litigation for the city of Lee’s Summit.
The man’s identity is unknown.
Two companies together own and operate that Best Western-branded hotel: Meiners Cass County LLC, and Meiners Development Co. of Independence LLC. They have yet to reveal the man’s identity, Cartwright said by email.
“The (Lee’s Summit Police Department) wants to interview the guy as part of its investigation, and the hotel has stalled on disclosing his identity,” Cartwright said.
In its claim made in court, the hotel’s ownership names the city of Lee’s Summit and “John Doe” as defendants. Doe is the guest of the hotel who found the money.
Officials with the hotel did not return multiple requests for comment Friday evening.
The city of Lee’s Summit and police continue to search for the rightful owner of the money.
“Our primary interest is attempting to determine whether the money was stolen,” Cartwright said.
According to Missouri law, a person who finds more than $10 should file an affidavit with a local court within 10 days if the proper owner is unknown.
The Best Western’s ownership filed its affidavit in Jackson County within the time frame, on May 3.
Missouri law also states that after 40 days, the finder must take out a notice in a newspaper for three consecutive weeks. If six months pass without the rightful owner making a claim, the money becomes the property of the finder.
The Best Western guest who found the money turned it into a front desk clerk at the hotel around 5:45 a.m. on April 25.
The money was placed in a safe, and a representative with Meiners Cass County and Meiners Development arrived at the hotel and counted the cash, according to court documents.
The representative then notified Lee’s Summit police, which took possession of the money.
In its court filings, the hotel’s ownership claims that “the hotel guest relinquished any claim ... that the guest had in said property to (the hotel owner),” and he “verbally stated that he did not make any claim to the hat and/or currency.”
A hearing in the case regarding the hotel owner’s claim is scheduled for Aug. 8.