The mystery of what happened to a U.S. Treasury bond purchased for the Finney County public library in 1984 has moved to court after county officials said they exhausted all other avenues trying to determine how to get the proceeds from the bonds.
Earl C. Brookover Sr., founder of Brookover Feed Yards in Garden City, bequeathed the bond to the library, and it was placed at what was then the Garden National Bank. Brookover bought the bond for $3,888 but officials estimate it is now worth $60,000, The Garden City Telegram reported. A copy of the bond was put in a time capsule, which was opened in 2008.
Garden City Bank has changed owners four times since 1984 and is currently owned by Bank of America. The county contends in the lawsuit that Bank of America is responsible for Garden National Bank's obligations and should account for proceeds from the bonds.
Bank of America has told the county it transferred those duties to an undisclosed third party, and the county has been unable to determine who took possession of the bonds, who has them now or how to get the proceeds.
The lawsuit was filed only after county officials sought help from the county sheriff, state officials and the Office of the Kansas Securities Commissioner.
"Tracking where the bond went, we kept running into dead ends. Our county counselor thought that really the only thing we could do is file a lawsuit and see if the bond will show up," County Administrator Randy Partington said. "It's about the last thing we know we can do."
Dave Jones, county commission chairman, said the change in bank ownership complicated the issue and all the county wants is the original copy of the bond so the money can go to the library.
Former library board chairman Rocky Cook said it's unfortunate the situation had to go to court.
"The countless hours and effort that has gone into trying to collect it so far has really diminished the value and spirit of the gift. It's been so many years now, and I feel really bad for the Brookover people who were so generous about this," Cook said.
Cook said the money would help the library pay for a new outdoor classroom and other improvements to the facility, which was built in 1986.