Lost amid the uplifting "City Finances Hosed"
story and the "City Neighborhoods Screwed"
story in this morning's Plain Dealer is a pretty fascinating story
that should never have become so damn fascinating.
The lowdown: A contractor ripping up a friend's bathroom -- note that word: "friend's" -- stumbled on some boxes stuffed with really old cash. Almost $200,000 worth, but who's counting? (Oh, that's right, everyone's counting, including currency appraisers, who say the vintage cash might be worth half a mil.) Of course, with this being the Holiday season at all, these two friends are fighting over the money. And, of course, they brought lawyers to the fight:
The walls from which Kitts pulled the money aren't his walls. The house isn't his house. Nobody knows for certain whose money it is.
Yet Kitts claims it as his own. He and his lawyer have dusted off an obscure, centuries-old legal doctrine called "treasure trove" -- a common-law finders-keepers provision -- that they believe gives him top claim to the wealth.
Kitts' lawyer has drafted a lawsuit that he hopes will force Amanda Reece to turn over the money she has kept, or at least share it.
Then again, he may not be a cent to the richer. Several court rulings have established precedent that undermines the applicability of the treasure-trove doctrine under these circumstances, said Reece's lawyer, John Chambers. Reece would have accommodated Kitts, but the handyman got greedy, Chambers said. Now Reece has no intention of backing down in the face of what she considers a shakedown.
You know those pricks who are sitting on $50,000 on Deal or No Deal
, and the odds of them making more are slimmer than Keira Knightly when she forgets to eat for a few days, and they happen to have exactly $50,000 in debt, which they've been complaining about for years, yet they go for it anyway, 'cause they have a "feeling?" I used to hate those people. Now I hate these
Does Kitts not realize that, without his friendship with Reece, he's just another shitty contractor ripping up the treasure-trove-less bathrooms of people who are convinced he's stealing from them?
Does Reece not understand that without Kitts, she would have hired some contractor off the street, who wouldn't have said shit about finding that money, but would have been happy to charge her for having to carry the treasure to his truck, sued her when he slipped trying to carry his new treasure, kicked her cat, eaten her Cheez-its, drunk her Pabst, and hit on her on when she got home?
And here's the really amazing part: Do Kitts and Reece not know what lawyers do? Do they not understand that by getting all these suits involved, everyone -- the lawyers, the IRS, and the thief who finds the trunk of gold coins stuffed in Reece's chimney tonight -- is going to have more money than when they started?
And what will Kitts and Reece be left with? Nothing but one less friend.
And so, I say to these two lucky bastards: Split it!
And if $90,000 ain't enough?
That's why they invented Vegas. -- Joe P. Tone