Airport employee finds $10,000, City of Amarillo keeps half


on't you love it when you find a few bucks in your pocket? Well, how about finding nearly $10,000 dollars in an abandoned purse?


hat happened to one local resident this year but even after no one came to claim the money, she wound up with only half.

The woman, who wished to remain anonymous, worked at Rick Husband Amarillo International Airport in concessions, and when she stumbled upon the $9,705 dollars in a purse with no identification of any kind, her friend and co-worker said she was very excited but didn't hesitate to turn it in.

"She was very excited and holding it out to me and I asked her what was going on and I looked at it and she said 'a lot of money,'" said friend Terra Seright. "She did do the right thing. She was excited to see someone's face, someone who had gotten the money back.."

The finder was originally told she might be able to claim the money after 30 days if it's rightful owner hadn't. But that ended up not being the case.

"Then they told her 45 days, then 90 days and finally she went up there after 90 days and they told her she wasn't entitled to the money at all," added Seright.

Texas law and the City of Amarillo intervened.

"Was this mislaid property, lost property or abandoned property because under Texas law that makes a difference as to who is entitled to it," explained Amarillo City Attorney Marcus Norris. "It was pretty easy to rule out mislaid, no one mislays that kind of cash. It was either lost or abandoned and as you study the faces, it was somewhat of a close call."

If the City deemed it "lost" property, the finder of the green could keep it all but if it was considered to be "abandoned" property, the owner of the property it was found on is entitled to it, in this case, the City of Amarillo.

After much discussion and even talks of lawyers, the City decided it was too close to call.

"To avoid litigation or further dispute and time on it we would split the money," said Norris.

That meant the City and the finder each received $4,852.20. A good deal, Norris said, considering the City could have claimed all of the money itself.

"It was a very equitable resolution the City gave. We divided it evenly with them. We could have kept all of it, we could have kept all of it as abandoned property," added Norris. "Now, that would discourage people from turning it in."

Friends of the finder disagreed strongly saying the City was "stealing their money".

"It's found money. There was no I.D. with it, it wasn't claimed. She found it. City property...if she found it at the park would it be city property?", questioned Seright. "If she found it at McDonalds, would it be McDonalds property? I think it's her money."

Leading some to agree with the old adage -- no good deed goes unpunished.

"Who wants to turn in money that's found when somebody else is going to steal it from you or make you give it to them?", added Seright. "It's wrong. It's her money, she found it."

The deal was made and the finder of money is receiving a check for her half of the money. The City's half of the money, Norris confirmed, will go back to the Airport Fund.