Franchot presents governor with $271 check

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The Most Interesting Man in Maryland made an interesting presentation to Gov. Martin O'Malley Wednesday -- a $271 check representing royalties owed for an appearance in a movie while O'Malley was mayor of Baltimore.

Comptroller Peter Franchot, who has been publicizing his office's unclaimed property programs with a series  of ads spoofing the Dos Equis beer "Most Interesting" commercials, handed the check to the governor at the beginning of a meeting of the Board of Public Works.


"I wish it was for $271,000," said Franchot, suggesting that the governor use the money to take First Lady Katie O'Malley out to dinner.

"This is the first thing you've ever given me," O'Malley told Franchot, a fellow Democrat but occasional political adversary.


O'Malley said the Disney Corp. apparently owed him the money as a result of a brief speaking role he played -- portraying the mayor of  Baltimore -- in the 2004 movie "Ladder 49" with Joaquin Phoenix and John Travolta. He said the company apparently didn't catch on to the fact that he moved from Baltimore to Annapolis in early 2007.

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"Disney had a hard time figuring out where in the world Martin O'Malley was in the state of Maryland regardless of my name being on every sign," the governor cracked.

O'Malley declined Franchot's suggestion on how to use the money, saying he would give it to charity.

It was certainly one of the cordial public exchanges between O'Malley and Franchot in recent years -- likely reflecting Franchot's decision late last year to forgo a race for governor and seek re-election. During the year leading up to that decision, Franchot seized many opportunities to distance himself from the governor on policy issues and to position himself as the un-O'Malley in the Democratic race.

O'Malley seemed to be happy Wednesday to play along with the pre-arranged handover in the interest of publicizing the work of the comptroller's Unclaimed Property Division.

"You are the most interesting man in Maryland," the governor told Franchot.

Andrew Friedson, a spokesman for  the comptroller, said that when a check issued to a Maryland resident cannot be delivered after three years, it goes to the unclaimed property office. Franchot said Marylanders can go to to see whether they are owed money.

Franchot said that since he took office in 2007, the Unclaimed Property Division has returned more than $261 million to about 260,000 taxpayers.