A-21456, FEBRUARY 23, 1928, 7 COMP. GEN. 508

A-21456: Feb 23, 1928

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PERSONS ACCEPTING SUCH SEIZED VEHICLES FOR STORAGE ARE CHARGED WITH KNOWLEDGE OF THE PROVISIONS OF LAW RELATIVE TO SEIZURE AND OF THE LIMITED POWERS OF OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES OF THE GOVERNMENT. THE FACTS APPEAR TO BE AS FOLLOWS: THE AUTOMOBILE REFERRED TO WAS SEIZED ON OR ABOUT MARCH 23. WHO WAS NOT THE OWNER OF THE CAR. THE DATE THE ORDER OF RELEASE WAS ENTERED. WHEN THE SEIZURE IS LEGAL AND PROPER THE EXPENSES ARE PAYABLE FROM THE PROCEEDS OF SALE. SAID SECTION SPECIFICALLY REQUIRES THAT A CAR SEIZED UNDER SUCH CIRCUMSTANCES AS WERE HERE INVOLVED SHOULD BE EITHER RELEASED IMMEDIATELY TO THE OWNER UPON THE GIVING OF A BOND. THERE WAS NO AUTHORITY IN ANY PROHIBITION OFFICER TO INCUR AN OBLIGATION FOR STORAGE ON THIS CAR FOR THE PERIOD OF APPROXIMATELY ONE YEAR THAT IT WAS IN STORAGE.

A-21456, FEBRUARY 23, 1928, 7 COMP. GEN. 508

STORAGE - AUTOMOBILES SEIZED UNDER THE NATIONAL PROHIBITION ACT WHERE PROHIBITION OFFICERS SEIZE VEHICLES UNDER SECTION 26 OF THE NATIONAL PROHIBITION ACT, THEY SHOULD BE IMMEDIATELY RELEASED TO THE OWNER UNDER BOND, OR SOLD BY THE SEIZING OFFICER WITHIN 30 DAYS. PERSONS ACCEPTING SUCH SEIZED VEHICLES FOR STORAGE ARE CHARGED WITH KNOWLEDGE OF THE PROVISIONS OF LAW RELATIVE TO SEIZURE AND OF THE LIMITED POWERS OF OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES OF THE GOVERNMENT.

DECISION BY COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL, FEBRUARY 23, 1928:

THERE HAS BEEN PRESENTED TO THIS OFFICE FOR CONSIDERATION AND SETTLEMENT THE CLAIM OF BARNETT CO. (INC.) FOR $41.10, COVERING STORAGE CHARGES ON A FORD TOURING AUTOMOBILE, MOTOR NO. 6831473, FROM MAY 24, 1925, TO MAY 13, 1926.

THE FACTS APPEAR TO BE AS FOLLOWS:

THE AUTOMOBILE REFERRED TO WAS SEIZED ON OR ABOUT MARCH 23, 1925, UNDER SECTION 26 OF THE NATIONAL PROHIBITION ACT OF OCTOBER 28, 1919, 41 STAT. 315. THE DRIVER, WHO WAS NOT THE OWNER OF THE CAR, PLEADED GUILTY TO CHARGES OF VIOLATING THE NATIONAL PROHIBITION ACT. ON MAY 13, 1926, UPON INTERVENTION BY THE ALLEGED OWNER (NOT UNDER CHARGES) THE COURT ORDERED THAT THE AUTOMOBILE BE RELEASED UPON PAYMENT BY HER OF THE STORAGE CHARGES, ETC. HOWEVER, THE OWNER DECLINED TO TAKE THE CAR, AND THEREAFTER THE CLAIMANT COMPANY SOLD THE CAR FOR $6 AND APPLIED THE PROCEEDS OF SALE TO THE STORAGE ACCRUING SUBSEQUENT TO MAY 13, 1926, THE DATE THE ORDER OF RELEASE WAS ENTERED.

SECTION 26 OF THE NATIONAL PROHIBITION ACT DOES NOT AUTHORIZE INCURRING OBLIGATIONS SO AS TO CHARGE APPROPRIATIONS MADE FROM GOVERNMENT FUNDS. WHEN THE SEIZURE IS LEGAL AND PROPER THE EXPENSES ARE PAYABLE FROM THE PROCEEDS OF SALE. SAID SECTION SPECIFICALLY REQUIRES THAT A CAR SEIZED UNDER SUCH CIRCUMSTANCES AS WERE HERE INVOLVED SHOULD BE EITHER RELEASED IMMEDIATELY TO THE OWNER UPON THE GIVING OF A BOND, OR SOLD BY THE SEIZING OFFICER, WITHOUT ACTION BY THE COURT, AFTER ADVERTISING, AND WITHOUT WAITING FOR CONVICTION OF THE DRIVER, SUCH SALE TO TAKE PLACE WITHIN ABOUT 30 DAYS FROM DATE OF SEIZURE. THERE WAS NO AUTHORITY IN ANY PROHIBITION OFFICER TO INCUR AN OBLIGATION FOR STORAGE ON THIS CAR FOR THE PERIOD OF APPROXIMATELY ONE YEAR THAT IT WAS IN STORAGE. IF THE CAR HAD BEEN SOLD WHEN IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN, THE PROCEEDS PROBABLY WOULD HAVE BEEN AMPLE TO PAY THE COSTS OF SEIZURE, SALE, AND STORAGE. PERSONS ACCEPTING SUCH SEIZED VEHICLES FOR STORAGE ARE CHARGED WITH KNOWLEDGE OF THE PROVISIONS OF LAW GOVERNING SEIZURE AND SALE, ALSO WITH KNOWLEDGE OF THE LIMITED POWER AND AUTHORITY OF OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES OF THE GOVERNMENT.

UPON THE FACTS PRESENTED THE CLAIM MUST BE AND IS DISALLOWED. 3 COMP. GEN. 682; 6 ID. 686.