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Unclaimed $45 mil fortune in Los Angeles: Does the tax assessor owe you hundreds of dollars?

Does Los Angeles County own you a piece of $45 million? You could easily be one of the 25,200 people the county can't "find" who got screwed shortly after the last California housing bubble collapse in 1991. If you don't know the squirmingly familiar lessons from that disaster, read "Unreal Estate" published in 1993 in the now-defunct L.A. Times Sunday magazine.

If you owned a home or condo in 1993, don't get screwed again. In the early 1990s, L.A. County royally messed up its refunds to people whose homes had tanked in value, who overpaid their property taxes as a result, and who were owed a refund. L.A. County owes thousands of people an average of $641 -- but some big property owners like big corporations are owed far more, and some little owners are owed only a couple of dollars.

Here's who to contact for your money:

Call (877) 740-6999.

Incredibly, according to Rob Pool, a lawyer representing taxpayers, authorities are trying to find the 1993 condo and home-owners using snail-mail.

Snail mail? Please. Tens of thousands of people have moved several times since 1993. The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors should do an email blast to everyone on their personal list-serves and ask them to spread the word.

Al Ramseyer, a lawyer for the county, tries to downplay all this in a Los Angeles Times story today, saying that most taxpayers can expect a "very nominal amount," as low as 1 cent.

Again, please. President Barack Obama is relying upon a sweetener of just $400 per American as his key stimulus program for consumers -- the amount that, over the course of the year, is not being taken out of your paycheck but is instead being left in your paycheck.

Shame on L.A. County for do the bare minimum to get $45 million, or an average of $641, out to folks who already got screwed once. Snail mail! 

If you own a condo or home today, be forewarned: with Los Angeles mired in collapsed home values, make sure the County Assessor doesn't mess up your refund this time.