A-35910, MAY 8, 1931, 10 COMP. GEN. 509

A-35910: May 8, 1931

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REAL ESTATE - LAND PURCHASES - ABSTRACTS OF TITLE THE DETERMINATION OF THE VALIDITY OF THE TITLE TO LAND TO BE ACQUIRED BY THE UNITED STATES IS FOR THE ATTORNEY GENERAL. THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE IS CHARGED WITH THE DUTY OF MAKING PAYMENT TO THE PARTY OR PARTIES ENTITLED THERETO. IT IS ESSENTIAL THAT ABSTRACTS OF TITLE BE SUBMITTED IN SUPPORT OF PAYMENTS FOR LAND TO THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE. 1931: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 21. IN MY LETTER REQUEST WAS MADE THAT THE ABSTRACT OF TITLE OR A CERTIFIED COPY THEREOF BE TRANSMITTED TO THIS OFFICE FOR USE IN THE SETTLEMENT OF THE CLAIM IN QUESTION. THE PURPOSE IN REQUESTING THAT THE ABSTRACT OF TITLE BE FURNISHED WAS NOT APPARENT.

A-35910, MAY 8, 1931, 10 COMP. GEN. 509

REAL ESTATE - LAND PURCHASES - ABSTRACTS OF TITLE THE DETERMINATION OF THE VALIDITY OF THE TITLE TO LAND TO BE ACQUIRED BY THE UNITED STATES IS FOR THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, BUT THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE IS CHARGED WITH THE DUTY OF MAKING PAYMENT TO THE PARTY OR PARTIES ENTITLED THERETO, AND IT IS ESSENTIAL THAT ABSTRACTS OF TITLE BE SUBMITTED IN SUPPORT OF PAYMENTS FOR LAND TO THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF WAR, MAY 8, 1931:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 21, 1931, IN REPLY TO MY LETTER OF MARCH 24, 1931, RELATIVE TO THE SETTLEMENT OF CLAIM IN FAVOR OF GEORGE W. HEFLIN AND WIFE, FOR $16,857.34, THE PURCHASE PRICE OF LAND TO BE ACQUIRED BY THE UNITED STATES AS PART OF THE FREDERICKSBURG AND SPOTSYLVANIA COUNTY BATTLEFIELDS MEMORIAL.

IN MY LETTER REQUEST WAS MADE THAT THE ABSTRACT OF TITLE OR A CERTIFIED COPY THEREOF BE TRANSMITTED TO THIS OFFICE FOR USE IN THE SETTLEMENT OF THE CLAIM IN QUESTION. IN YOUR REPLY, YOU STATE THAT INASMUCH AS THE ATTORNEY GENERAL HAD EXPRESSED HIS OPINION AS TO THE VALIDITY OF THE TITLE INVOLVED, THE PURPOSE IN REQUESTING THAT THE ABSTRACT OF TITLE BE FURNISHED WAS NOT APPARENT. THIS OFFICE DOES NOT QUESTION THE VALIDITY OF THE TITLE IN THE CASES IN WHICH THE ATTORNEY GENERAL HAS EXPRESSED HIS OPINION, BUT ITS RESPONSIBILITY IS TO BE CERTAIN THAT PAYMENT IS MADE TO THE PARTIES RIGHTFULLY ENTITLED THERETO IN ORDER THAT THE UNITED STATES MAY HAVE A GOOD ACQUITTANCE, AND IT IS FOR THAT PURPOSE THAT AN EXAMINATION OF THE ABSTRACT OF TITLE IS DEEMED ESSENTIAL.

IN THE INSTANT CASE, AN ATTORNEY OF THIS OFFICE MADE A TELEPHONE REQUEST TO EXAMINE THE ABSTRACT OF TITLE AT THE WAR DEPARTMENT SOLELY WITH THE VIEW OF EXPEDITING THE SETTLEMENT OF THE CLAIM. THE RESPONSE TO THE REQUEST WAS SUCH THAT IT SEEMED NECESSARY TO SUBMIT A FORMAL REQUEST.

IN YOUR REPLY YOU STATE THAT THE ABSTRACT DESIRED HAD BEEN FORWARDED TO THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, BEING PART OF THE BOUND VOLUME OF ABSTRACTS WHICH WAS SAID TO BE IN CONSTANT USE. IN ORDER THAT THE CASE MIGHT NOT BE LONGER DELAYED, THE ABSTRACT HAS BEEN EXAMINED AT THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE AND SETTLEMENT HAS ISSUED ON THE CLAIM.

IT MAY BE STATED THAT ESPECIAL PAINS ARE TAKEN TO EXPEDITE THE SETTLEMENT OF CLAIMS FOR THE PURCHASE PRICE OF LAND AND ALL CASES WHICH ARE PROPERLY PRESENTED FOR SETTLEMENT ARE ACTED UPON BY THIS OFFICE WITHOUT DELAY.

I HAVE TO ADVISE THAT IN ALL CASES IN WHICH CLAIMS FOR THE PURCHASE PRICE OF LAND ARE TRANSMITTED FOR DIRECT SETTLEMENT, THIS OFFICE MUST INSIST ON HAVING AN OPPORTUNITY TO EXAMINE THE ABSTRACT OF TITLE. IF AN ABSTRACT IS FORWARDED WITH THE CLAIM, IT WILL BE RETURNED PROMPTLY TO THE WAR DEPARTMENT OR TO THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, WHICHEVER IS DESIRED.