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Real Estate & Property Law

After Goodwill Worker Finds $14K in Box of Xmas Decorations, Competing Claims Wind Up in Court

Posted Nov 20, 2012 6:30 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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A Missouri judge had to decide between competing claims for a cash stash found in a box of Christmas decorations donated to a Goodwill store in St. Louis County.

But although at least 15 people vied for the $14,505 turned in by the honest thrift store worker who found the money, in the end Judge Brenda Stith Loftin only had to decide between two primary claimants, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

She awarded most of the money to Renee Stout, whose mother apparently hid it in the box. Stout had hired a company to hold an estate sale of the belongings in her parents' home in Columbia, Ill. After the sale, the company brought in another company, owned by Gloria Muhammad-Harden, to clean out the leftovers. She said she paid $100 for all remaining items, including the box of Christmas ornaments, but the owner of the estate-sale company denied the agreement, the article recounts.

When Muhammad-Harden failed to retain counsel to represent her company, the judge awarded the money to Stout, less $979 to cover Goodwill's attorney fees and costs.

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