March 08--ST. LOUIS -- A woman from University City sued Boeing here Wednesday, claiming that it wrongfully turned over 2,589 shares of stock to the state as unclaimed property that would now be worth nearly $1 million.
Lana Weinbach's suit says that Boeing and Computershare, a financial administration company, "failed to exercise reasonable and necessary diligence" in trying to find Weinbach or her father, Ben Weinbach, before turning over the shares to the Missouri treasurer in 2008.
The Weinbachs have lived in the same house since 1952, the suit says, and were not contacted by the companies. They also held other shares that were not turned over, meaning the company was barred from turning over the lost shares as abandoned property, the suit says.
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in St. Louis, says that Weinbach's parents originally bought 2,000 shares of McDonnell Douglas stock. Lana Weinbach and her father became joint owners of the shares when Weinbach's mother, Sarah Weinbach, died in 1977.
The Weinbachs bought 1,400 more shares of Boeing stock after the company merged with McDonnell Douglas in 1997, the suit says.
Ben Weinbach died in 2009.
The shares would now be worth more than $960,000, and even after the proceeds of the sale of stock by the state, Weinbach "has suffered substantial losses," the suit says.
After Lana Weinbach, now 74, learned of the turnover, the companies "engaged in a cover-up" by failing to provide her information and claimed that they didn't do anything wrong, the suit says.
Boeing and Computershare did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The state treasurer's website says it holds $988 million in unclaimed property in more than 4.8 million owner accounts. "Each year financial institutions, businesses, government agencies, and other organizations turn over millions of dollars in cash and the contents of nearly 1,000 safe deposit boxes to the Treasurer's office," as required after five years with no contact, the website says.
Garrett Poorman, a spokesman, said in an email that the office has seven unclaimed property accounts for Weinbach, six of which contain more than $50.
Poorman called disputes like Weinbach's "not particularly common" and said the office seeks to return unclaimed property "as quickly and efficiently as possible."
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