A Different Kind of Inheritance Tax?

We were proud to join many Hoosiers and legislators in the 2012 session in striking down Indiana’s inheritance tax.

While it’s not quite the same thing, this story from Minnesota raises interesting questions about the government’s role in monitoring monetary gifts from one person to another. Read the saga of the waitress/mother of five and her alleged "drug money" donation, and let us know in the comments section if you think the police did the right thing. The Duluth News Tribune has the story:

For the struggling waitress with five children, the $12,000 left at the table in a to-go box must have seemed too good to be true.

Moorhead police decided it was just that.

Now, the waitress is suing in Clay County District Court, claiming the cash was given to her and police shouldn’t have seized it as drug money.

“The thing that’s sad about it is here’s somebody who truly needs this gift … and now the government is getting in the way of it,” said the woman’s attorney, Craig Richie of Fargo.

Moorhead police Lt. Tory Jacobson said he couldn’t discuss the matter.

“We certainly have an ongoing investigation with it, with suspicion of narcotics or the involvement of narcotics investigators,” he said.

Assistant County Attorney Michelle Lawson also declined to discuss the pending lawsuit.

The Forum isn’t identifying the waitress in order to protect her in case the cash was part of a drug deal.

According to the lawsuit filed three weeks ago:

The waitress was working at the Moorhead Fryn’ Pan when she noticed that a woman had left a to-go box from another restaurant on the table.

The waitress picked it up, followed the woman to her car and tried to give her the box, but the woman replied, “No, I am good; you keep it.”

The waitress thought that was strange, but she agreed and went back inside the restaurant, the lawsuit states. The box felt too heavy to contain only leftovers, so she looked inside and found cash rolled up in rubber bands.

“Even though I desperately needed the money as my husband and I have 5 children, I feel I did the right thing by calling Moorhead Police,” she states in the lawsuit.

Police arrived and seized the money, which the woman was told amounted to roughly $12,000. She was first told the money would be hers if it wasn’t claimed within 60 days, the lawsuit states. Then she claims she was told to wait 90 days. Continue reading

Fifth Third Bank Provides Record Gift for Health Project

Fifth Third Bank and the Fifth Third Foundation have donated $5 million to the Eskenazi Health Foundation — formerly the Wishard Foundation — and the new Eskenazi Health project. The company says the gift is the largest such donation by an Indiana financial institution to date. A release from Fifth Third explains:

Health and Hospital Corporation of Marion County will honor the gift from Fifth Third in naming the faculty office building on the new Eskenazi Health campus the Fifth Third Faculty Office Building.

“We are extremely grateful to receive this record gift from Fifth Third in support of the health of our community and health education throughout Indiana and around the world,” said Ernest Vargo II, CFRE, president and CEO of the Eskenazi Health Foundation. “Fifth Third is a leading corporate citizen in Indianapolis and around the country, and their tremendous support for the health of our community is truly unique among financial institutions. We are deeply appreciative of their support and honored to reflect their generosity in the name of the faculty office building on the Eskenazi Health campus.”

Fifth Third Foundation and Fifth Third Bank will contribute $2 million and $3 million, respectively, to create the gift. The $5 million is among the largest gifts the Eskenazi Health Foundation – formerly the Wishard Foundation – has received and will support construction of the new Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Hospital and Eskenazi Health campus, which will replace the current Wishard Memorial Hospital facilities.

“Fifth Third is proud to continue our long history of philanthropy and commitment to building a better tomorrow in the communities we serve with this gift in the name of health care and medical education,” said Nancy Huber, President & CEO, Fifth Third Bank, Central Indiana. “Eskenazi Health will play a unique role in Central Indiana, and the new hospital campus will be among the most advanced and efficient in the nation. For this unprecedented development, we are proud to provide a record gift.”

Fifth Third Bank was the first financial institution in the United States to establish a charitable foundation, opening the Fifth Third Foundation in 1948. The gift also marks the beginning of a partnership that will continue Fifth Third’s focus on financial literacy in the Central Indiana community and the financial health and vitality of individuals from all walks of life.

“We are committed to providing an extraordinary level of support in the communities we serve, and very few opportunities match the scope and capacity to influence positive change than that of a contribution to Eskenazi Health,” said Heidi Jark, vice president and managing director of the Fifth Third Foundation. “For a one-of-a-kind organization in the midst of once-in-a-century transformation, we are pleased to provide this gift for the people of Indiana.”

The Fifth Third Faculty Office Building will be a modern, campus-integrated facility that will house workspace for support functions of the hospital’s mission to advocate, care, teach and serve as well as house workspace for the Indiana University School of Medicine, Purdue University School of Pharmacy and various other academic support programs. Health and Hospital Corporation is working with developers Duke Realty and Browning Investments to develop the 295,000-sq. ft. building with a research-based workplace strategy to enhance productivity, workflow, efficiency and comfort while encouraging teamwork, innovation and collaboration among the partners that will utilize its workspace, which also includes the Regenstrief Institute.

“This is an extraordinary legacy gift supporting the health of our community,” said Dr. Lisa Harris, CEO and medical director at Wishard. “The gift will, first and foremost, support care for our patients, addressing the needs of the most vulnerable in our community and will enable highly specialized care to individuals facing life-changing trauma. It will also contribute to medical education for students of the IU School of Medicine, Purdue School of Pharmacy and many other academic institutions with which we partner.”

The Fifth Third Foundation is Fifth Third Bancorp’s charitable foundation. Its mission is to make strategic grants in the communities where Fifth Third Bank operates.

Wishard is one of America’s largest safety-net health care systems, with nearly 1.4 million outpatient visits last year, and is among the highest-quality, lowest-cost health care systems in the United States. Philanthropic contributions enhance Wishard’s ability to provide excellent quality care.