By: Alexander Pyles
Treasurer Nancy K. Kopp, Gov. Martin O'Malley and Comptroller Peter Franchot at a Board of Public Works meeting in 2008 (Maximilian Franz/The Daily Record)
Gov. Martin O’Malley and Comptroller Peter Franchot have shared a number of tense moments at Board of Public Works meetings over the last couple of years.
But on Wednesday, Franchot offered something of an olive branch: a check for $271 dollars from the comptroller’s unclaimed property division.
The check — apparently a royalty from O’Malley’s cameo appearance as Baltimore’s mayor in “Ladder 49″ (a 2004 film starring Joaquin Phoenix and John Travolta) — made O’Malley the 7,001st Marylander to find unclaimed property this year.
“This is the first thing you’ve ever given me,” O’Malley said, later adding he’d donate the money to charity.
By law, businesses are required to notify the comptroller of property that has gone unclaimed for more than three years, including bank accounts, security deposits, wages and insurance benefits and contents of safe deposit boxes.
Franchot’s office devised a marketing campaign this year that called the comptroller “The Most Interesting Man in Maryland” — spoofing a long-running Dos Equis beer commercial campaign — complete with a catchphrase: “I don’t always lose property, but when I do, I prefer to search at marylandtaxes.com.”
The planned exchange with O’Malley was meant to further promote the program, which the comptroller’s office says has returned $261 million to 260,000 tax payers since Franchot took office in 2007.
“I’ll concede the point if you don’t think I’m the most interesting man in Maryland,” Franchot said.
O’Malley — though he wondered how The Walt Disney Co. could loose track of him in his move from Baltimore to Annapolis considering his name is on every sign in the state — was happy to call Franchot the state’s most interesting man, a good-humored compliment that Franchot later said he hoped O’Malley would remember one day in the White House’s Oval Office, a reference to O’Malley’s presidential ambition.