CPS Energy employee finds $1,500 cash, turns it in

Defenders' inquiries about money drive new policy in Leon Valley

Author: April Molina, Investigative Reporter, amolina@ksat.com
Published On: May 03 2013 03:18:33 PM CDT   Updated On: May 03 2013 09:50:13 PM CDT
LEON VALLEY, Texas -

Gus Fernandez, a 15-year CPS Energy employee, was out reading meters when he first laid eyes on the cash on a Leon Valley street.

"My co-worker and I were amazed," Fernandez said. "(It was) like Christmas."

It totaled more than $1,500 when it was all captured and counted.

"We did the right thing working for CPS, you know. We find stuff like this. It's our duty ... to turn it in," Fernandez said.

He remembers Leon Valley police being surprised to get the call.

"They were like, 'Wow, that's a lot of money,' and they were shocked that we were turning it in," Fernandez said.

He was given a property receipt, a case number, and hope that if no one claimed the money, he might get it back.

A couple days later, even before the public notice was posted, he was advised otherwise.

"They have a policy there at the Leon Valley Police Department if it's abandoned, they can not return it," Fernandez said.

After several unreturned phone calls to Leon Valley police over a period of days, KSAT's Defenders took the matter to City Manager Manny Longoria, who admitted the city does not have a policy when it comes to money being turned in.

In fact, at the time, Longoria said they would follow state law.

It is worth noting that, according to the Comptroller's Office, the state wouldn't even accept money that had been lost and found.

"I'm going to do the right thing, so I expect somebody else to do the right thing, too," Fernandez said.

Longoria said the city attorney researched similar cases in Texas in which the money was returned after a notification period.

"If nobody claims it, I would love to get it back," Fernandez said.

According to Longoria, the Defenders' inquiries are driving the city to develop a policy regarding found money.

If adopted by City Council, Fernandez could get his hands on the more than $1,500 once again.

For a list of recent stories April Molina has done, click here.