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Ethics 101

kuba

TRIBE Member
Does anyone read the Globe? Well, on Mondays in the Review section there is an interesting column called "ethics 101" where they pose a dilemma each week and get answers. This weeks dilemma is posted below. The question is, what would YOU do?

dilemma...

My daughter moved to England to study and rented a room in a house shared by three other students. The house had recently been sold by the heirs of an old man who was rumoured to have hidden money there. Before it was sold, the house was turned upside down but nothing was found. The new owner renovated thoroughly and did not find any money.

After moving in, my daughter cleaned her room painstakingly, including the inside of an unused fireplace. Deep inside the chimney she found a small wooden box, containing about £5,000 ($11,300). Further up the chimney, she found another box, filled with about £8,000. Should she have given the money to the landlord? The previous owners? The police? Should she have shared it with her roommates or kept it herself?
 

kuba

TRIBE Member
^^^I would tell my daughter to keep the cash because they owner(s) made a concerted effort to find the money. Once this search was exhausted, I think its free rein on the house.
 

labRat

TRIBE Member
the heirs to the old man and the new homeowners probably deserve it just as much as the daughter does. i'd say to split the money up with the roommates and enjoy it - although i think the daughter should get more than the others.

--craig
 
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stir-fry

TRIBE Member
i'd keep the money, without a shadow of a doubt.

i'd stick it in a swiss account, so they couldn't trace it for a few years :)
 

Klubmasta Will

TRIBE Member
legally (at english common law), the proper ownership of the money might very well be a grey area.

LANDLORD - the landlord might be the proper owner, but it would depend on the precise wording of its purchase agreement for the house and whether or not there was a bill of sale for chattels on closing (in addition to the deed of land). if there was only a deed of land, then the landlord would only own the land and fixtures, but not the chattels within the structure. (chattels include things that are "moveable" ... like a box of cash.)

DEAD GUY'S HEIRS - the money originally would have belonged to the dead guy's estate. given the fact that the estate sold the house to a new owner, one could argue that the money has been legally abandoned and therefore ownership rights will belong to he/she who has possession.

GREY AREA - the grey area exists because it is not clear whether one can "find" something that has been abandoned on another person's property. the legal issue is: does a property owner automatically have possessory title over chattel property that has been abandoned on his/her land, even though the property owner does not know of the existence of the chattel property in question? or, even more simply: does possessory title require knowledge of possession?

whether or not i would keep the money would depend on the circumstances: the type of people involved, how much i needed the cash, how i felt that particular day, etc. :)
 
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kuba

TRIBE Member
masta'

Did you take Torts? Are you a lawyer? Damn that was a good explanation ^^^^^ above.

word.
 
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Klubmasta Will

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by qtip
masta'

Did you take Torts? Are you a lawyer? Damn that was a good explanation ^^^^^ above.

word.
heh, thanks.

to answer your questions: yes, i'm a lawyer and yes, i took torts (although this is more of a property/contracts law question).

i would guess over 90% of people would keep the money in the given fact situation. to make it more of a split, you should ask yourself whether you would keep the money if it had been left there by a charitable organization or an orphanage or something.
 

Bumbaclat

TRIBE Member
It's actually slightly embarassing how little debate I would have over this. no qualms, no questions.

Bumbaclat
 

starr

TRIBE Member
damn catholic school guilt!

i'd give the money back to the heirs
even though it probably belongs to the current owner or whatever...
i'm too empathetic for my own good
 
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