A-13467, MARCH 18, 1926, 5 COMP. GEN. 737

A-13467: Mar 18, 1926

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JUDGMENTS - CONDEMNATION PROCEEDINGS WHERE LAND IS CONDEMNED PURSUANT TO SECTION 7 OF THE ACT OF JUNE 17. THE JUDGMENT IS NOT REQUIRED TO BE CERTIFIED TO THE CONGRESS BUT MAY BE PAID FROM APPLICABLE RECLAMATION FUNDS. SUCH JUDGMENTS ARE REQUIRED BY THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 18. AS A GENERAL RULE JUDGMENTS ARE PAYABLE TO THE JUDGMENT CREDITORS BUT THEY MAY BE PAID TO THE CLERK OF A UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT WHEN THE DECREE OR JUDGMENT SO PROVIDES. WHICH WAS CONDEMNED BY THE UNITED STATES IN CONNECTION WITH RIGHT OF WAY PURPOSES FOR THE AMERICAN FALLS RESERVOIR. THE QUESTIONS WILL BE CONSIDERED IN THE ORDER STATED. THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR IS HEREBY AUTHORIZED TO ACQUIRE THE SAME FOR THE UNITED STATES BY PURCHASE OR BY CONDEMNATION UNDER JUDICIAL PROCESS.

A-13467, MARCH 18, 1926, 5 COMP. GEN. 737

JUDGMENTS - CONDEMNATION PROCEEDINGS WHERE LAND IS CONDEMNED PURSUANT TO SECTION 7 OF THE ACT OF JUNE 17, 1902, 32 STAT. 388, FOR RECLAMATION PROJECTS, THE JUDGMENT IS NOT REQUIRED TO BE CERTIFIED TO THE CONGRESS BUT MAY BE PAID FROM APPLICABLE RECLAMATION FUNDS. SUCH JUDGMENTS ARE REQUIRED BY THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 18, 1904, 33 STAT. 41, TO BE PAID ON SETTLEMENTS BY THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE. AS A GENERAL RULE JUDGMENTS ARE PAYABLE TO THE JUDGMENT CREDITORS BUT THEY MAY BE PAID TO THE CLERK OF A UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT WHEN THE DECREE OR JUDGMENT SO PROVIDES, ON ACCOUNT OF EXCEPTIONABLE CIRCUMSTANCES, SUBJECT TO ACCOUNTING THEREFOR AS REQUIRED BY LAW.

DECISION BY COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL, MARCH 18, 1926:

THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR BY LETTER OF MARCH 9, 1926, TRANSMITTED "FOR DIRECT SETTLEMENT OR ADVANCE DECISION" AN APPROVED VOUCHER PAYABLE TO THE CLERK OF THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF IDAHO IN THE SUM OF $1,720 AS THE AMOUNT OF A JUDGMENT ENTERED BY SAID COURT AGAINST THE UNITED STATES ON FEBRUARY 20, 1926, IN UNITED STATES V. LYDIA J. EDWARDS, ET AL., NO. 526, AS THE "REASONABLE VALUE" OF LOTS 1 TO 43, INCLUSIVE, OF BLOCK 15, OF THE ORIGINAL TOWN SITE OF AMERICAN FALLS, IDAHO, WHICH WAS CONDEMNED BY THE UNITED STATES IN CONNECTION WITH RIGHT OF WAY PURPOSES FOR THE AMERICAN FALLS RESERVOIR, MINIDOKA PROJECT. THE SUBMISSION PRESENTS QUESTIONS AS TO: (1) THE MEANS OF PAYMENT OF THE JUDGMENT; (2) THE PERSON TO WHOM PAYMENT SHOULD BE MADE; AND (3) THE MANNER OF PAYMENT. THE QUESTIONS WILL BE CONSIDERED IN THE ORDER STATED.

THE ACT OF JUNE 17, 1902, 32 STAT. 388, ESTABLISHING A "RECLAMATION FUND" PROVIDED IN SECTION 7 THEREOF:

THAT WHERE IN CARRYING OUT THE PROVISIONS OF THIS ACT IT BECOMES NECESSARY TO ACQUIRE ANY RIGHTS OR PROPERTY, THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR IS HEREBY AUTHORIZED TO ACQUIRE THE SAME FOR THE UNITED STATES BY PURCHASE OR BY CONDEMNATION UNDER JUDICIAL PROCESS, AND TO PAY FROM THE RECLAMATION FUND THE SUMS WHICH MAY BE NEEDED FOR THAT PURPOSE, AND IT SHALL BE THE DUTY OF THE ATTORNEY-GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES UPON EVERY APPLICATION OF THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR, UNDER THIS ACT, TO CAUSE PROCEEDINGS TO BE COMMENCED FOR CONDEMNATION WITHIN THIRTY DAYS FROM THE RECEIPT OF THE APPLICATION AT THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE.

THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1925, 43 STAT. 1165, 1166, MADE APPROPRIATIONS FROM THE "RECLAMATION FUND" AND FOR EXPENSES OF THE MINIDOKA PROJECT, AND AS THE JUDGMENT IS NOT ONE FOR DAMAGES AS CONSIDERED BY A FORMER COMPTROLLER OF THE TREASURY IN DECISION OF JANUARY 31, 1913, SAME IS NOT REQUIRED TO BE SPECIFICALLY REPORTED TO THE CONGRESS PURSUANT TO THE ACT OF APRIL 27, 1904, 33 STAT. 422, FOR A SPECIFIC APPROPRIATION FOR ITS PAYMENT, BUT MAY BE CHARGED TO THE "RECLAMATION FUND, SPECIAL FUND (AMERICAN FALLS).' SEE ALSO ACT OF AUGUST 13, 1914, 38 STAT. 690.

SERVICE APPEARS TO HAVE BEEN OBTAINED BY PUBLICATION, AND POWER COUNTY,IDAHO, FILED AN ANSWER CLAIMING A TAX LIEN OF $118.05 ON THE PROPERTY, COMPUTED UP TO OCTOBER 1, 1925, BUT THE DECREE STATES "THAT IT DOES NOT YET APPEAR OF RECORD IN THIS CASE THAT THE TAXES FOR THE YEAR 1925 AND PRIOR YEARS HAVE OR HAVE NOT BEEN PAID.' THERE WAS NO APPEARANCE FOR THE HEIRS OR DEVISEES OF THE DECEASED OWNER OF THE PROPERTY, AND THE COURT FIXED $1,720 AS THE REASONABLE VALUE OF THE PROPERTY AND:

* * * ORDERED, ADJUDGED, AND DECREED THAT THE DEFENDANTS, LYDIA J. EDWARDS AND W. H. EDWARDS, HER HUSBAND, MAY HAVE JUDGMENT AGAINST THE PLAINTIFF FOR THE SAID SUM OF ONE THOUSAND SEVEN HUNDRED TWENTY ($1,720.00) DOLLARS, LESS THE AMOUNT OF ANY TAX LIEN FOR UNPAID TAXES AND PENALTIES FOR THE YEAR 1925 AND PRIOR YEARS, IF THERE ARE FOUND TO BE ANY SUCH UNPAID TAXES; THAT THE DEFENDANT, POWER COUNTY, IDAHO, BE ENTITLED TO JUDGMENT AGAINST THE PLAINTIFF FOR THE AMOUNT OF ANY VALID TAX LIEN AND PENALTIES WHICH MAY BE SHOWN TO BE A LIEN ON THE SAID PREMISES;

THAT UPON PAYMENT OF THE SAID SUM OF ONE THOUSAND SEVEN HUNDRED TWENTY ($1,720.00) DOLLARS BY THE UNITED STATES TO THE CLERK OF THE COURT FOR THE DEFENDANTS, LYDIA J. EDWARDS AND W. H. EDWARDS, HER HUSBAND, AND IF ANY TAX LIEN IS FOUND TO BE IN EFFECT AGAINST SAID PREMISES ALSO FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE DEFENDANT, POWER COUNTY, IDAHO, TO THE EXTENT OF SUCH TAX LIEN, FINAL ORDER OF CONDEMNATION WILL BE ENTERED HEREIN CONVEYING AND TRANSFERRING FROM THE DEFENDANTS HERE TO THE PLAINTIFF, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, FEE TITLE TO THE ABOVE DESCRIBED PREMISES:

THAT THE COURT RETAINS JURISDICTION HEREOF FOR THE PURPOSE OF DETERMINING WHETHER OR NOT ALL TAXES AND TAX LIENS HAVE BEEN PAID ON SAID PREMISES, AND IF SUCH TAX LIEN IS FOUND TO EXIST, WILL ORDER THE PAYMENT OF THE AMOUNT THEREOF TO DEFENDANT, POWER COUNTY, IDAHO, OUT OF SUCH PAYMENT MADE TO THE CLERK OF THE COURT BY THE PLAINTIFF, AND THE PAYMENT OF THE BALANCE OF SAID SUM OF ONE THOUSAND SEVEN HUNDRED TWENTY ($1,720.00) DOLLARS TO DEFENDANTS, LYDIA J. EDWARDS AND W. H. EDWARDS, PROVIDED, HOWEVER, THAT UPON FILING OF THE TAX RECEIPTS, OR OTHER EVIDENCE SATISFACTORY TO THE COURT, SHOWING THE PAYMENT OF ALL TAXES AND THE REMOVAL OF TAX LIENS, THEN THE FULL AMOUNT OF SAID SUM OF ONE THOUSAND SEVEN HUNDRED TWENTY ($1,720.00) DOLLARS SHALL BE ORDERED PAID TO SAID DEFENDANTS, LYDIA J. EDWARDS AND W. H. EDWARDS, OR TO THEIR ATTORNEY OF RECORD.

AS STATED IN DECISION OF THIS OFFICE DATED JANUARY 8, 1926 (A 12528), THE GENERAL RULE IS THAT PAYMENT TO A CLERK OF COURT CAN BE MADE ONLY AFTER JUDGMENT AND WHEN FOR SOME EXCEPTIONAL REASON THE JUDGMENT OR DECREE PROVIDES FOR THE PAYMENT IN SUCH MANNER. THE EXCEPTIONAL REASON IN THIS CASE APPEARS TO BE THAT THE COUNTY HAS ASSERTED A LIEN ON THE LAND FOR UNPAID TAXES, AND DISTRIBUTION OF THE REMAINDER OF THE COMPENSATION FOR THE LAND AMONG THE HEIRS AND DEVISEES, IF ANY, REMAINS TO BE MADE, AND IN SUCH A SITUATION PAYMENT MAY BE MADE TO THE CLERK OF A UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT, SUBJECT TO ACCOUNTING THEREFOR AS PROVIDED IN SECTION 99OF THE JUDICIAL CODE OF MARCH 3, 1911, 36 STAT. 1106, AND OTHER APPLICABLE STATUTES. SEE UNITED STATES V. CONWAY LUMBER COMPANY, 234 FED.REP. 961.

THERE REMAINS FOR CONSIDERATION THE QUESTION AS TO THE MANNER OF PAYMENT; THAT IS, WHETHER THE PAYMENT SHALL BE BY DIRECT SETTLEMENT OF THIS OFFICE OR BY A DISBURSING OFFICER OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE DEPARTMENT. SECTION 7 OF THE ACT OF JUNE 17, 1902, SUPRA, AUTHORIZES THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR TO ACQUIRE LAND NECESSARY FOR RECLAMATION PROJECTS AND "TO PAY FROM THE RECLAMATION FUND THE SUMS WHICH MAY BE NEEDED FOR THAT PURPOSE," AND THE ACT OF AUGUST 13, 1914, 38 STAT. 690, MADE THE RECLAMATION FUND AVAILABLE FOR PAYMENTS FOR PURPOSES PURSUANT TO ANNUAL APPROPRIATIONS. THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 18, 1904, 33 STAT. 41, PROVIDED THAT THEREAFTER:

* * * IN ALL CASES OF FINAL JUDGMENTS AND AWARDS RENDERED AGAINST THE UNITED STATES BY THE COURT OF CLAIMS, AND OF FINAL JUDGMENTS RENDERED AGAINST THE UNITED STATES BY THE CIRCUIT AND DISTRICT COURTS OF THE UNITED STATES, PAYMENT THEREOF UNDER APPROPRIATIONS MADE BY CONGRESS SHALL BE MADE ON SETTLEMENTS BY THE AUDITOR FOR THE DEPARTMENT OR BRANCH OF THE PUBLIC SERVICE HAVING JURISDICTION OVER THE SUBJECT-MATTER OUT OF WHICH THE CLAIMS AROSE.

BY THE BUDGET AND ACCOUNTING ACT OF JUNE 10, 1921, 42 STAT. 23, THIS OFFICE SUCCEEDED THE FORMER OFFICES OF AUDITORS AND COMPTROLLER OF THE TREASURY, AND THERE WOULD APPEAR TO BE NO REASON FOR DOUBT BUT THAT THE PAYMENT OF THE JUDGMENT IN THIS AND SIMILAR CASES MAY PROPERLY BE REQUIRED BY THIS OFFICE UNDER THE ACT OF 1904, CITED, AND AS STATED IN THE ABOVE- MENTIONED DECISION OF JANUARY 8, 1926, A CERTIFIED COPY OF FINAL JUDGMENTS IN RECLAMATION CASES, TOGETHER WITH THE USUAL ACCOMPANYING PAPERS, SHOULD BE PROMPTLY TRANSMITTED TO THIS OFFICE SHOWING NECESSITY FOR EXPEDITION AND SAME WILL BE GIVEN DUE AND IMMEDIATE CONSIDERATION.

THE JUDGMENT IN THIS CASE WILL BE SETTLED IN THIS OFFICE PURSUANT TO THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 18, 1904, SUPRA. ..END :