A-10283, JANUARY 25, 1926, 5 COMP. GEN. 529

A-10283: Jan 25, 1926

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WHEREIN WAS DISALLOWED THE CLAIM OF THE ARROWHEAD SPRINGS CO. IN CONNECTION WITH THE REQUEST FOR REVIEW THERE IS INCREASED THE AMOUNT OF THE CLAIM AS ORIGINALLY SUBMITTED BY A CLAIM OF $10. IT BEING CONTENDED THAT THE PREMISES WERE NOT SURRENDERED UNTIL THE LATTER DATE ALTHOUGH CLAIMANT ACKNOWLEDGES TO HAVE RECEIPTED FOR THE PROPERTY AUGUST 27. THE ENTIRE CLAIM AS NOW ASSERTED IS SUMMARIZED AS FOLLOWS: 1. DAMAGES FOR WHICH EXPENDITURES HAVE ALREADY BEEN MADE: TABLE (A) PLUMBING RENEWALS . MAY BE DISMISSED WITH THE STATEMENT THAT THIS PORTION OF THE CLAIM WAS DISPOSED OF BY DECISION OF DECEMBER 5. ON WHICH IS LOCATED THE ARROWHEAD SPRINGS HOTEL. WAS LEASED BY THE GOVERNMENT FOR USE AS A HOSPITAL AND SANATORIUM FOR THE CARE AND TREATMENT OF DISABLED SOLDIERS.

A-10283, JANUARY 25, 1926, 5 COMP. GEN. 529

LEASES - DAMAGES TO PRIVATE PROPERTY UNDER A LEASE OF BUILDINGS AND GROUNDS FOR HOSPITAL PURPOSES, EXECUTED BY THE PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE AND SUBSEQUENTLY TRANSFERRED TO THE VETERANS' BUREAU, WHICH PROVIDED THAT THE UNITED STATES SHOULD REPLACE THE PROPERTY IN THE SAME SHAPE AND CONDITION AS AT THE TIME IT TOOK POSSESSION THEREOF, ORDINARY WEAR AND TEAR AND DAMAGE BY FIRE EXCEPTED, AND THAT THE EXTENT OF THE RESTORATION AS DETERMINED BY THE SURGEON GENERAL SHOULD BE BINDING ON THE PARTIES, NO REIMBURSEMENT MAY BE MADE FOR DAMAGES RESULTING FROM THE REASONABLE USE OF THE PREMISES FOR THE PURPOSES FOR WHICH LEASED OR FOR DAMAGE TO THE GROUNDS BY A FOREST FIRE; NOR MAY THE REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE COSTS OF RESTORATION EXCEED THE AMOUNT FOUND DUE BY THE DIRECTOR OF THE VETERANS' BUREAU AS SUCCESSOR TO THE SURGEON GENERAL, AND WHICH AMOUNT THE LESSOR HAD AGREED TO ACCEPT.

DECISION BY COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL, JANUARY 25, 1926:

REQUEST HAS BEEN MADE FOR REVIEW OF SETTLEMENT NO. 068586 OF DECEMBER 29, 1924, WHEREIN WAS DISALLOWED THE CLAIM OF THE ARROWHEAD SPRINGS CO. FOR $58,326 AS THE THEN ESTIMATED COST OF RESTORATION WORK NECESSARY TO PLACE THE BUILDINGS AND GROUNDS LEASED FROM THAT COMPANY IN THE SAME CONDITION AS WHEN THE GOVERNMENT TOOK POSSESSION THEREOF UNDER A LEASE AGREEMENT DATED FEBRUARY 9, 1920.

IN CONNECTION WITH THE REQUEST FOR REVIEW THERE IS INCREASED THE AMOUNT OF THE CLAIM AS ORIGINALLY SUBMITTED BY A CLAIM OF $10,759.12 AS RENT FROM JUNE 30, 1924, TO SEPTEMBER 2, 1924, IT BEING CONTENDED THAT THE PREMISES WERE NOT SURRENDERED UNTIL THE LATTER DATE ALTHOUGH CLAIMANT ACKNOWLEDGES TO HAVE RECEIPTED FOR THE PROPERTY AUGUST 27, 1924, AND A CLAIM OF $50,000 AS GENERAL DAMAGES TO THE ENTIRE ACREAGE DUE TO A FOREST FIRE. THE ENTIRE CLAIM AS NOW ASSERTED IS SUMMARIZED AS FOLLOWS:

1. DAMAGES FOR WHICH EXPENDITURES HAVE ALREADY BEEN MADE:

TABLE

(A) PLUMBING RENEWALS ------------------- $13,890.21

(B) INTERIOR PAINTING AND DECORATING ---- 17,462.70

(C) REFINISHING FLOORS IN MAIN BUILDING - 569.95

(D) ELECTRIC WIRING AND FIXTURES -------- 2,354.59

(E) LAUNDRY ----------------------------- 2,407.23

(F) WOMEN'S BATHHOUSE ------------------- -----------

(G) REPAIRING STEAM CAVE BATHHOUSES ----- 518.00

(H) ICE PLANT --------------------------- 4,347.30

(I) GENERAL REPAIRS --------------------- 34,992.16

(J) CLEANING UP GROUNDS AND REMOVING

DEBRIS AND SHEDS -------------------- 1,984.40

(K) REPAIRING AND REPLACING FURNITURE AND

FIXTURES ---------------------------- 27,730.41

TOTAL --------------------------------------------- $106,256.95

II. REPAIRS REMAINING TO BE MADE:

(A) SEWERAGE DISPOSAL PLANT ------------- $1,200.00

(B) MUD CIENEGA ------------------------- 3,000.00

(C) BATHHOUSE --------------------------- 735.00

(D) BARN AND FEED SHED ------------------ 1,250.00

(E) FOUR-ROOM CALIFORNIA BUNGALOW ------- 500.00

(F) RESTORATION AND REPAIR OF ROAD ------ 575.00

(G) RESTORATION OF TERRAIN AND DAMAGE TO

PLANTATION -------------------------- 11,960.00

TOTAL --------------------------------------------- 19,220.00

III. AMOUNT DUE ON ACCOUNT OF UNPAID RENT -------------- 10,759.12

IV. DAMAGE TO ARROWHEAD ACREAGE BECAUSE OF FOREST FIRE - 50,000.00

GRAND TOTAL --------------------------------------- 186,236.07

CREDIT TO U.S. GOVERNMENT BASED ON ALLOWABLE WEAR AND

TEAR AND INVENTORIES ----------------------------------- 18,000.00

TOTAL AMOUNT OF CLAIM ---------------------------- 168,236.07

ITEM I (K), REPAIRING AND REPLACING FURNITURE AND FIXTURES, MAY BE DISMISSED WITH THE STATEMENT THAT THIS PORTION OF THE CLAIM WAS DISPOSED OF BY DECISION OF DECEMBER 5, 1925, ALLOWING $1,431.26 FOR THE REASONS THERE STATED.

IT APPEARS THAT PURSUANT TO THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1919, 40 STAT. 1302, THE ARROWHEAD SPRINGS PROPERTY, CONSISTING OF 1,800 ACRES, MORE OR LESS, SITUATE IN THE ANGELES NATIONAL FOREST, SAM BERNARDINO COUNTY, CALIF., ON WHICH IS LOCATED THE ARROWHEAD SPRINGS HOTEL, WAS LEASED BY THE GOVERNMENT FOR USE AS A HOSPITAL AND SANATORIUM FOR THE CARE AND TREATMENT OF DISABLED SOLDIERS, SAILORS, AND MARINES AT A YEARLY RENTAL OF $62,500 (PAYABLE IN MONTHLY INSTALLMENTS OF $5,208.33). THE LEASE AGREEMENT WAS DATED FEBRUARY 9, 1920, ACCEPTANCE THEREOF BEING DATED FEBRUARY 23, 1920, AND WAS ENTERED INTO BETWEEN THE CLAIMANT AS LESSOR AND J. H. MOYLE, ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY, FOR AND IN BEHALF OF THE UNITED STATES, AS LESSEE, SAID LEASE TO RUN TO THE END OF THAT FISCAL YEAR WITH THE RIGHT RESERVED TO THE GOVERNMENT OF RENEWAL FROM YEAR TO YEAR UNTIL JUNE 30, 1924. SECTIONS 7 AND 9 OF THE LEASE PROVIDE AS FOLLOWS:

7. THAT THE RENT TO BE PAID YOU BY THE UNITED STATES FOR SUCH USE AND OCCUPANCY OF SAID PROPERTY, ETC., SHALL BE (A) AT THE RATE OF $62,500.00 PER YEAR, PAYABLE IN MONTHLY INSTALLMENTS OF $5,208.33 EACH (PROVIDED, THAT, IF PURCHASE IS CONSUMMATED PRIOR TO JUNE 30, 1921, YOU SHALL REBATE TO THE GOVERNMENT ONE-FIFTH OF THE AMOUNT OF RENTAL PAID), AND (B) REIMBURSEMENT OF THE ACTUAL COST OF THE WORK MENTIONED IN CONDITION 2 ABOVE, AND (C) OF THE ACTUAL COST OF REPLACING THE PROPERTY IN THE SAME SHAPE AND CONDITION AS AT THE TIME THE GOVERNMENT TOOK POSSESSION, ORDINARY WEAR AND TEAR EXCEPTED; PROVIDED, THAT THE EXTENT OF RESTORATION SHALL BE DETERMINED AND SUCH COSTS SHALL BE ASCERTAINED BY THE SURGEON GENERAL, WHOSE DECISION SHALL BE BINDING UPON BOTH PARTIES HERETO, PROVIDED, ALSO, THAT THE GOVERNMENT SHALL NOT BE LIABLE FOR ANY RENT (UNDER SUBDIVISION (A) ABOVE) DURING SUCH TIME AS SUCH RESTORATION MAY CONTINUE AFTER THE DATE THE GOVERNMENT VACATES SAID PROPERTY:

9. THAT THE UNITED STATES WILL NOT SUFFER OR COMMIT ANY DAMAGE TO THE PREMISES, BUILDINGS, FIXTURES, OR FURNISHINGS; AND THAT UPON THE TERMINATION OF THIS OCCUPANCY THE UNITED STATES SHALL REPLACE ALL OF SAID PROPERTY IN THE SAME SHAPE AND CONDITION AS AT THE TIME THE GOVERNMENT TOOK POSSESSION THEREOF, ORDINARY WEAR AND TEAR AND DAMAGE BY FIRE OR OTHER CASUALTY EXCEPTED.

THE SETTLEMENT CERTIFICATE OF THIS OFFICE, DATED DECEMBER 29, 1924, IN DISALLOWING THE CLAIM FOR $58,326, REFERRED TO THE PROVISIONS OF ARTICLES 7 AND 9 OF THE LEASE AND STATED THAT---

IT IS EVIDENT THAT THE VETERANS' BUREAU DOES NOT CONTEMPLATE RESTORING THE PROPERTY AND CLAIMANT'S ONLY RIGHT TO ANY AMOUNT MUST BE AUTHORIZED BY ARTICLE 7.

CLAIMANT HAS NOT EXPENDED ANY AMOUNT FOR ACTUALLY RESTORING THE PREMISES, WHICH EXPENSE MUST BE CONSIDERED A CONDITION PRECEDENT TO BEING REIMBURSED FOR RESTORATION SHOULD SUCH EXPENSE BE PROPERLY REIMBURSABLE UNDER THE TERMS OF THE LEASE.

THE REFERENCE TO ARTICLE 7 APPEARS TO HAVE BEEN UNDERSTOOD BY CLAIMANT AS MEANING THE DISALLOWANCE WAS BASED ON THE FAILURE TO HAVE THE AMOUNT DUE FOR RESTORATION ASCERTAINED AND DETERMINED BY THE SURGEON GENERAL. THE FACTS APPEAR, HOWEVER, THAT AT THE TIME OF THE EXECUTION OF THE LEASE AND UNTIL MAY 1, 1922, THE SURGEON GENERAL, BUREAU OF THE PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE, DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY, HAD SUPERVISION OF THE PROPERTY SO LEASED, BUT THAT ON MAY 1, 1922, BY VIRTUE OF EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 3669, DATED APRIL 29, 1922, ISSUED PURSUANT TO THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 9 OF THE ACT OF AUGUST 9, 1921, 42 STAT. 149, THE SUPERVISION OF SAID PROPERTY WAS TRANSFERRED TO THE JURISDICTION OF THE UNITED STATES VETERANS' BUREAU AND SO REMAINED UNTIL THE TERMINATION OF THE LEASE AND RETURN OF THE PROPERTY TO THE LESSOR IN 1924. THUS THE DIRECTOR OF THE VETERANS' BUREAU SUCCEEDED THE SURGEON GENERAL IN THE MATTER.

THIS CLAIM, ORIGINALLY ASSERTED BY CLAIMANT IN THE AMOUNT OF $58,326, WAS INVESTIGATED AND ADMINISTRATIVELY CONSIDERED BY THE DIRECTOR OF THE VETERANS' BUREAU AS SUCCESSOR TO THE SURGEON GENERAL; AND PURSUANT TO THE ABOVE-QUOTED LEASE PROVISION, AND, AS EVIDENCED BY THE DIRECTOR'S LETTER TO THIS OFFICE DATED DECEMBER 4, 1924, TRANSMITTING THE CLAIM FOR SETTLEMENT, HE THEN DETERMINED THE EXTENT OF THE RESTORATION NECESSARY TO REPLACE THE PROPERTY INVOLVED IN THE SAME SHAPE AND CONDITION AS AT THE TIME THE GOVERNMENT TOOK POSSESSION, AS CONTEMPLATED BY THE LEASE, AND ASCERTAINED AND DETERMINED THE COST TO BE $24,638.25. WITH HIS LETTER OF DECEMBER 4, 1924, THE DIRECTOR TRANSMITTED TO THIS OFFICE CLAIMANT'S WRITTEN ACCEPTANCE OF SUCH DETERMINATION AND AGREEMENT TO ACCEPT SUCH SUM LESS $5,000, THE AGREED VALUE OF CERTAIN BUILDINGS AND EQUIPMENT NOT REMOVED FROM THE PROPERTY BY THE GOVERNMENT, IN FULL SATISFACTION OF THE CLAIM. IN VIEW OF SUCH DETERMINATION BY THE DIRECTOR AND ACCEPTANCE BY THE CLAIMANT, THE DIRECTOR RECOMMENDED PAYMENT TO CLAIMANT OF $19,638.25 IN FULL SETTLEMENT OF THE CLAIM.

THE MAIN REASON FOR DISALLOWANCE BY THIS OFFICE, AS STATED IN THE SETTLEMENT CERTIFICATE, WAS THE FACT THAT AT SUCH TIME CLAIMANT HAD NOT ESTABLISHED ACTUAL EXPENDITURE OF ANY AMOUNT FOR RESTORATION, ACTUAL EXPENDITURE APPEARING A CONDITION PRECEDENT TO REIMBURSEMENT UNDER THE TERMS OF THE LEASE. CLAIMANT HAS SINCE SHOWN ACTUAL EXPENDITURES FOR RESTORATION PURPOSES, NOW ASSERTING, IN FACT, ACTUAL EXPENDITURES AGGREGATING MORE THAN $65,000; AND IN REPORTING TO THIS OFFICE THEREON THE DIRECTOR OF THE VETERANS' BUREAU UNDER DATE OF JUNE 15, 1925, STATED:

THE ARROWHEAD SPRINGS COMPANY SEEMS OF THE OPINION THAT THE DISALLOWANCE WAS BASED ON ITS FAILURE TO HAVE THE AMOUNT DUE DETERMINED BY THE SURGEON GENERAL. THE SURGEON GENERAL, AS WILL APPEAR FROM HIS LETTER OF MAY 6, 1925, NOW IN THE FILE, IS OF THE OPINION THAT IN VIEW OF EXECUTIVE ORDER OF APRIL 29, 1922, TRANSFERRING THE LEASED PREMISES FROM THE JURISDICTION OF THE U.S. PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE TO THAT OF THIS BUREAU IT IS APPARENT THAT THIS CLAIM IS ONE FOR CONSIDERATION BY THIS BUREAU. THE SURGEON GENERAL'S OPINION IS CONCURRED IN.

IT SEEMS TO THIS BUREAU, HOWEVER, THAT THE DISALLOWANCE IS BASED ON THE FACT THAT IT WAS NOT SHOWN THAT THE ARROWHEAD SPRINGS COMPANY HAD EXPENDED ANY AMOUNT FOR RESTORATION. THEREFORE, THERE IS TRANSMITTED HEREWITH THE CLAIM OF THE ARROWHEAD SPRINGS COMPANY, SUBMITTED TO THE SURGEON GENERAL, WHICH SHOWS AN EXPENDITURE OF $65,517.39. THIS IT SEEMS MEETS THE CONDITION PRECEDENT STATED IN THE LAST PARAGRAPH OF THE DISALLOWANCE.

IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING IT IS REQUESTED THAT SETTLEMENT OF THE CLAIM IN QUESTION BE MADE IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE RECOMMENDATION CONTAINED IN THE LETTER FROM THIS BUREAU DATED JANUARY 21, HEREINBEFORE REFERRED TO.

LETTER OF JANUARY 21, 1925, APPEARS TO HAVE BEEN INADVERTENTLY CITED INSTEAD OF THE LETTER OF DECEMBER 4, 1924, HEREINBEFORE MENTIONED. SUCH ERROR WAS DOUBTLESS DUE TO THE FACT THAT THERE WAS A LETTER DATED JANUARY 21, 1925, TRANSMITTED TO THIS OFFICE BY THE DIRECTOR WITH REFERENCE TO THE LEASE IN QUESTION. SUCH LETTER, HOWEVER, DID NOT RELATE TO THIS CLAIM BUT HAD TO DO WITH A CLAIM FOR ALLEGED DAMAGE AND SHORTAGE OF FURNITURE AND FURNISHINGS IN THE AMOUNT OF $17,534.67, ADVISED THAT CERTAIN OF SUCH EQUIPMENT ALLEGED TO HAVE BEEN LOST HAD BEEN LOCATED, AND RECOMMENDED PAYMENT OF $1,431.26 IN SETTLEMENT OF SUCH CLAIM. THAT CLAIM HAS BEEN DISPOSED OF BY THIS OFFICE. THEN TOO, THE CLAIM HERE UNDER CONSIDERATION WAS ACTUALLY TRANSMITTED TO THIS OFFICE WITH THE LETTER DATED DECEMBER 4, 1924, MORE THAN A MONTH BEFORE THE LETTER OF JANUARY 21, 1925, WAS RECEIVED.

IT NOW APPEARS CLAIMANT HAS ACTUALLY MADE EXPENDITURES FOR RESTORATION IN AN AMOUNT IN EXCESS OF THAT DETERMINED BY THE DIRECTOR OF THE VETERANS' BUREAU AS MEASURING THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE UNITED STATES IN THE MATTER, AND SUCH SHOWING MEETS THE OBJECTION STATED IN THE SETTLEMENT CERTIFICATE OF THIS OFFICE DATED DECEMBER 9, 1924. WHILE THE DETAILS OF SUCH EXPENDITURES MAY NOW BE CONSIDERED BY THIS OFFICE AS FURNISHING SUPPORT FOR THE CLAIM AS ORIGINALLY SUBMITTED BY THE DIRECTOR UNDER DATE OF DECEMBER 4, 1924, THEY MAY NOT BE ACCEPTED TO REOPEN THE MATTER SO AS TO SET ASIDE THE DETERMINATION DULY MADE BY THE DIRECTOR OF THE VETERANS' BUREAU PURSUANT TO THE LEASE PROVISION, AND THE WRITTEN ACCEPTANCE BY CLAIMANT OF SUCH DETERMINATION AND THE AMOUNT THEREOF, TO WIT, $24,638.25, LESS $5,000, OR $19,638.25.

THE CLAIM IS NOW FOR CONSIDERATION IN THE LIGHT OF THE DIRECTOR'S SAID DETERMINATION AND CLAIMANT'S ACCEPTANCE THEREOF. CLAIMS FOR DAMAGES OR FOR RESTORATION, SUCH AS HERE PRESENTED, MUST BE CONSIDERED IN THE LIGHT OF THE PURPOSE FOR WHICH THE PROPERTY WAS LEASED. THE USE OF THIS PROPERTY FOR MORE THAN FOUR YEARS AS A HOSPITAL AND SANATORIUM FOR THE CARE AND TREATMENT OF DISABLED SOLDIERS, SAILORS, AND MARINES, THE PURPOSE FOR WHICH LEASED, NECESSARILY SUBJECTED THE PROPERTY TO CONSIDERABLE WEAR AND TEAR AND DEPRECIATION. THE GOVERNMENT IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY DAMAGE CAUSED BY THE REASONABLE USE OF THE PROPERTY FOR THE PURPOSE FOR WHICH LEASED. 27 COMP. DEC. 264; 1 COMP. GEN. 134. UNDER THIS LEASE THE OBLIGATION OF THE UNITED STATES WAS TO ,REPLACE ALL OF SAID PROPERTY IN THE SAME SHAPE AND CONDITION AS AT THE TIME THE GOVERNMENT TOOK POSSESSION THEREOF, ORDINARY WEAR AND TEAR AND DAMAGE BY FIRE OR OTHER CASUALTY EXCEPTED.' THE EXTENT AND COST OF THE RESTORATION NECESSARY TO SO REPLACE THE PROPERTY AT THE TERMINATION OF THE LEASE WAS BY AGREEMENT OF THE PARTIES TO BE DETERMINED BY THE LESSEE, IT BEING PROVIDED IN THE LEASE THAT: * * * THE EXTENT OF RESTORATION SHALL BE DETERMINED AND SUCH COSTS SHALL BE ASCERTAINED BY THE SURGEON GENERAL, WHOSE DECISION SHALL BE BINDING UPON BOTH PARTIES HERETO, * * *.

THE EFFECT OF THIS AGREEMENT WAS TO OBLIGATE THE GOVERNMENT FOR ONLY SUCH COSTS OF RESTORATION NOT THE RESULT OF ORDINARY WEAR AND TEAR INCIDENT TO USE FOR THE PURPOSE FOR WHICH LEASED, OR OF FIRE OR OTHER CASUALTY, AS ASCERTAINED AND DETERMINED BY THE SURGEON GENERAL OR HIS SUCCESSOR. THE DIRECTOR OF THE VETERANS' BUREAU AS SUCCESSOR TO THE SURGEON GENERAL HAS DULY DETERMINED THE EXTENT OF THE RESTORATION OF THE BUILDINGS AND GROUNDS REQUIRED OF THE GOVERNMENT UNDER THE LEASE AND HAS ASCERTAINED AND FIXED THE COST THEREOF AT $24,638.25. THE MATTER FOR DETERMINATION BY THE DIRECTOR BEING ONE OF FACT SUCH DETERMINATION MAY BE ACCEPTED BY THE ACCOUNTING OFFICERS IN THE SETTLEMENT AND ADJUSTMENT OF THE CLAIM IN THE ABSENCE OF FRAUD OR GROSS MISTAKE SUCH AS WOULD IMPLY FRAUD. NO SUCH FRAUD OR GROSS MISTAKE APPEARING, AND CLAIMANT HAVING SHOWN ACTUAL AND JUSTIFIED EXPENDITURES FOR RESTORATION TO THE FULL EXTENT OF THAT AMOUNT, SAID SUM OF $24,638.25 IS HEREBY ALLOWED IN FULL SETTLEMENT OF THE CLAIM, BUT THERE WILL BE DEDUCTED THEREFROM THE SUM OF $5,000, THE AGREED VALUE OF THE BUILDINGS AND EQUIPMENT NOT REMOVED FROM THE PROPERTY BY THE GOVERNMENT, LEAVING THE AMOUNT FOR PAYMENT TO CLAIMANT THE SUM OF $19,638.25. SEE 20 COMP. DEC. 255; 26 ID. 277.

THERE IS NEXT FOR CONSIDERATION THE ITEM OF $50,000 AS DAMAGES TO THE ACREAGE DUE TO THE FOREST FIRE. IT IS ASSERTED THAT THIS FIRE WAS TRACED "DIRECTLY TO THE SOLDIERS THEN OCCUPYING OWHEAD.' THE ONLY EVIDENCE TO SUPPORT THIS ASSERTION, HOWEVER, IS AN EXCERPT STATED TO HAVE BEEN TAKEN FROM A REPORT OF INSPECTOR JENKINS, A FOREST RANGER, WHO INVESTIGATED THE FIRE. THE FULL TEXT OF THE REPORT OR OF AN AFFIDAVIT STATED TO HAVE BEEN SECURED FROM ONE JACK GARLISH, ALLEGED TO HAVE BEEN A CHAUFFEUR IN THE EMPLOY OF THE VETERANS' BUREAU HOSPITAL AT THE TIME, ARE NOT FURNISHED, BUT THE CONCLUSION OF THE REPORT OF THE INSPECTOR QUOTED IN THE SUBMISSION IS SUFFICIENT FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS DECISION. THE CONCLUSION IS STATED TO BE AS FOLLOWS:

NO ABSOLUTE CLEWS--- PROBABLY CIGARETTES DROPPED IN DRY BRUSH; HIGH WIND AND HOT FIRE WOULD OBLITERATE ANY TRACE; ALL POSSIBLE STEPS TAKEN TO PLACE RESPONSIBILITY WITHOUT BEING ABLE TO DEFINITELY TIE IT TO ANY PARTICULAR PATIENT; NUMEROUS PATIENTS FROM THE HOSPITALS USING THE TRAIL WHERE THE FIRE STARTED.

THE REPORT FAILS TO SHOW THE RESPONSIBILITY OF ANYONE CONNECTED WITH THE HOSPITAL FOR THE FIRE IN QUESTION. PARAGRAPH 9 OF THE LEASE, QUOTED ABOVE, EXCEPTS THE GOVERNMENT FROM ALL LIABILITY FOR DAMAGE BY FIRE. THIS PORTION OF THE CLAIM IS ACCORDINGLY DISALLOWED.

THAT PORTION OF THE CLAIM INVOLVING RENT FROM JUNE 30, 1924, TO SEPTEMBER 2, 1924, WILL BE FOR CONSIDERATION WHEN THE FACTS CONCERNING THE ALLEGED HOLDING OVER AFTER THE EXPIRATION OF THE LEASE TERMS SHALL HAVE BEEN DEVELOPED.

UPON REVIEW THERE IS CERTIFIED DUE CLAIMANT THE SUM OF $19,638.25 IN FULL SETTLEMENT OF THE CLAIM FOR DAMAGES TO BUILDINGS AND GROUNDS, BY FIRE OR OTHERWISE, AND CHECK IN PAYMENT THEREOF WILL ISSUE IN DUE COURSE.