A-7263, FEBRUARY 26, 1925, 4 COMP. GEN. 719

A-7263: Feb 26, 1925

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Edda Emmanuelli Perez
(202) 512-2853
EmmanuelliPerezE@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

THERE IS NO AUTHORITY TO COMPROMISE A JUDGMENT DUE THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT FROM THE ASSIGNEE OF AN ABSCONDING POSTMASTER WHEN THE FULL AMOUNT OF THE JUDGMENT MAY BE COLLECTED. WHILE POST-OFFICE INSPECTORS WERE ENGAGED IN CHECKING OVER THE ACCOUNTS OF THE POST OFFICE. WHICH APPEARS TO HAVE BEEN SOMEWHAT PROLONGED DUE TO THE FACT THAT HINTON HAD SECRETED SOME OF HIS OFFICIAL PAPERS. CERTAIN CREDITORS ATTACHED THE REMAINING MERCHANDISE AND SAME WAS TURNED OVER TO JAMES M. THE QUESTION OF THE RIGHT OF THE UNITED STATES WITH RESPECT TO THE MERCHANDISE WAS TAKEN UP WITH DOUGLAS AND THE OTHER CREDITORS. SUIT WAS ENTERED IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT AT JACKSON. THERE WAS REALIZED APPROXIMATELY $600.

A-7263, FEBRUARY 26, 1925, 4 COMP. GEN. 719

JUDGMENTS, COMPROMISE - POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT UNDER SECTION 295, REVISED STATUTES, AS AMENDED, THERE IS NO AUTHORITY TO COMPROMISE A JUDGMENT DUE THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT FROM THE ASSIGNEE OF AN ABSCONDING POSTMASTER WHEN THE FULL AMOUNT OF THE JUDGMENT MAY BE COLLECTED.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE POSTMASTER GENERAL, FEBRUARY 26, 1925:

THERE HAS BEEN RECEIVED YOUR REQUEST DATED DECEMBER 31, 1924, FOR DECISION WHETHER YOU MAY COMPROMISE A JUDGMENT OF THE UNITED STATES AGAINST THE ASSIGNEE OF WILLIE A. HINTON, ABSCONDING POSTMASTER AT SONTAG, MISS., AS TO ALLOW THE ASSIGNEE AND HIS ATTORNEY FEES OR COMPENSATION FOR THEIR SERVICES, THE CLAIM OF THE UNITED STATES BEING IN SUCH AN AMOUNT AS TO PRACTICALLY EXHAUST THE FUNDS IN THE HANDS OF THE ASSIGNEE.

IT APPEARS FROM THE INCLOSURES TO THE REQUEST FOR DECISION THAT WILLIE A. HINTON, THEN POSTMASTER AT SONTAG, MISS., ABSCONDED ON JANUARY 9, 1923, WHILE POST-OFFICE INSPECTORS WERE ENGAGED IN CHECKING OVER THE ACCOUNTS OF THE POST OFFICE. DURING THE CONTINUANCE OF THE INSPECTION, WHICH APPEARS TO HAVE BEEN SOMEWHAT PROLONGED DUE TO THE FACT THAT HINTON HAD SECRETED SOME OF HIS OFFICIAL PAPERS, RELATIVES OF THE POSTMASTER BEGAN THE REMOVAL OF CERTAIN MERCHANDISE FROM THE GENERAL STORE OPERATED BY HINTON IN CONNECTION WITH THE POST OFFICE. CERTAIN CREDITORS ATTACHED THE REMAINING MERCHANDISE AND SAME WAS TURNED OVER TO JAMES M. DOUGLAS, A LOCAL MERCHANT, TO BE SOLD FOR THE COMMON BENEFIT OF ALL OF THE CREDITORS. THE MEANTIME THE POST OFFICE INSPECTORS HAD DETERMINED THAT $1,543.47 OF POSTAL FUNDS HAD BEEN EMBEZZLED BY HINTON, OR $543.47 IN EXCESS OF THE PENALTY ON HIS OFFICIAL BOND. THE QUESTION OF THE RIGHT OF THE UNITED STATES WITH RESPECT TO THE MERCHANDISE WAS TAKEN UP WITH DOUGLAS AND THE OTHER CREDITORS, FORMAL DEMAND MADE FOR $543.47, THE AMOUNT IN EXCESS OF THE OFFICIAL BOND OF HINTON, TO BE PAID BY THE ASSIGNEE, DOUGLAS, OUT OF THE PROCEEDS OF THE STOCK OF GOODS, AND THIS REQUEST BEING DENIED BY THE ASSIGNEE, SUIT WAS ENTERED IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT AT JACKSON, MISS., AND RESULTED IN A JUDGMENT ON DISTRICT COURT AT JACKSON, MISS., AND RESULTED IN A JUDGMENT ON NOVEMBER 4, 1924, AGAINST THE ASSIGNEE FOR $543.47, WITH INTEREST AT 6 PERCENTUM PER ANNUM FROM JANUARY 9, 1923, UNTIL PAID.

THERE WAS REALIZED APPROXIMATELY $600, ONLY, FROM THE SALE OF THE MERCHANDISE, AND THE SUGGESTION THAT THE JUDGMENT BE COMPROMISED SO AS TO ALLOW THE ASSIGNEE AND HIS ATTORNEY A FEE APPEARS TO BE DUE TO THE FACT THAT PAYMENT OF THE JUDGMENT AND INTEREST WILL PRACTICALLY EXHAUST THE FUND AND LEAVE LITTLE OR NOTHING TO COMPENSATE THE ASSIGNEE AND HIS ATTORNEY FOR SERVICES WHICH THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY STATED "CONSERVED THE ESTATE FOR THE BENEFIT OF THOSE ENTITLED TO THE PROCEEDS THEREFROM.'

THE AUTHORITY TO COMPROMISE JUDGMENTS ON ACCOUNT OF A DEBT OR DAMAGES DUE THE UNITED STATES THROUGH THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT IS CONTAINED IN SECTION 295, REVISED STATUTES, IN LANGUAGE AS FOLLOWS:

WHENEVER A JUDGMENT IS OBTAINED FOR A DEBT OR DAMAGES DUE THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT, AND IT SATISFACTORILY APPEARS THAT SUCH JUDGMENT, OR SO MUCH THEREOF AS REMAINS UNPAID, CAN NOT BE COLLECTED BY DUE PROCESS OF LAW, THE SIXTH AUDITOR MAY, WITH THE WRITTEN CONSENT OF THE POSTMASTER GENERAL, COMPROMISE SUCH JUDGMENT, AND ACCEPT IN SATISFACTION LESS THAN THE FULL AMOUNT THEREOF.

THE AUTHORITY CONFERRED BY THIS SECTION ON THE SIXTH AUDITOR BECAME THAT OF THE AUDITOR FOR THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT UNDER THE ACT OF JULY 31, 1894, 28 STAT. 205, 211, AND BY THE ACT OF JUNE 10, 1921, 42 STAT. 23, 27, WAS TRANSFERRED TO AND CONFERRED ON THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES AND HE IS AUTHORIZED TO COMPROMISE JUDGMENTS ONLY WHEN "IT SATISFACTORILY APPEARS THAT SUCH JUDGMENT, OR SO MUCH THEREOF AS REMAINS UNPAID, CAN NOT BE COLLECTED BY DUE PROCESS OF LAW" AND WITHIN THE WRITTEN CONSENT OF THE POSTMASTER GENERAL.

THE UNDISPUTED FACTS SHOW THAT THE JUDGMENT AGAINST THE ASSIGNEE OF $543.47 WITH INTEREST CAN BE COLLECTED FROM FUNDS IN THE HANDS OF THE ASSIGNEE AND IT NECESSARILY FOLLOWS THAT THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL IS NOT AUTHORIZED TO COMPROMISE THE JUDGMENT AGAINST THE ASSIGNEE.

YOU ARE ADVISED THAT THERE IS NO AUTHORITY TO COMPROMISE THE JUDGMENT AND THE FULL AMOUNT THEREOF SHOULD BE COLLECTED.