A-83315, MARCH 29, 1937, 16 COMP. GEN. 889

A-83315: Mar 29, 1937

Additional Materials:

Contact:

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

 

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

CLAIMS - CONFLICTING - REJECTION OF ALL - DOUBT AS TO PROPER PAYEE WHERE CLAIMS FOR ARREARS OF PAY DUE AND UNPAID AN ENLISTED MAN OF THE ARMY AT DATE OF DEATH ARE PRESENTED BY TWO PARTIES CLAIMING AS SURVIVING WIDOW. THERE IS SHOWN A MARRIAGE CEREMONY SUBSEQUENT TO THAT OF EITHER OF SAID CLAIMANTS WITH ANOTHER PARTY WHOSE WHEREABOUTS ARE UNKNOWN. REQUIRES DENIAL OF PAYMENT UNTIL THERE IS PRESENTED A CLAIM OF A DULY APPOINTED LEGAL REPRESENTATIVE OF THE DECEDENT'S ESTATE. 1937: CLAIMS HAVE BEEN PRESENTED BY MRS. NEITHER OF THE CLAIMANTS APPEARS TO HAVE INCURRED ANY EXPENSE INCIDENT TO THE BURIAL OF THE SOLDIER. AT LEAST THEIR CLAIMS ARE NOT ASSERTED UPON PAYMENT OF BURIAL EXPENSES. IT APPEARS THAT AT THE TIME OF SERGEANT SMITH'S DEATH THERE WAS DUE HIM FROM THE UNITED STATES $7.92 PAY.

A-83315, MARCH 29, 1937, 16 COMP. GEN. 889

CLAIMS - CONFLICTING - REJECTION OF ALL - DOUBT AS TO PROPER PAYEE WHERE CLAIMS FOR ARREARS OF PAY DUE AND UNPAID AN ENLISTED MAN OF THE ARMY AT DATE OF DEATH ARE PRESENTED BY TWO PARTIES CLAIMING AS SURVIVING WIDOW, AND NOT ON THE BASIS OF HAVING PAID THE BURIAL EXPENSES, AND THERE IS SHOWN A MARRIAGE CEREMONY SUBSEQUENT TO THAT OF EITHER OF SAID CLAIMANTS WITH ANOTHER PARTY WHOSE WHEREABOUTS ARE UNKNOWN, WITHOUT A SUFFICIENT SHOWING OF PRIOR DIVORCE, THE PROTECTION OF THE INTERESTS OF THE GOVERNMENT AND THE ALLEGED WIDOW NOT CLAIMING, REQUIRES DENIAL OF PAYMENT UNTIL THERE IS PRESENTED A CLAIM OF A DULY APPOINTED LEGAL REPRESENTATIVE OF THE DECEDENT'S ESTATE.

DECISION BY ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL ELLIOTT, MARCH 29, 1937:

CLAIMS HAVE BEEN PRESENTED BY MRS. LENNIE ADA SMITH, 338 NORTH KING STREET, HAMPTON, VA., AND BY MRS. THOMAS R. SMITH (NEE EMY L. DROST), 840 WEST FORTY-THIRD STREET, LOS ANGELES, CALIF., FOR ARREARS OF PAY DUE AND UNPAID AT DATE OF DEATH OF THOMAS RAYMOND SMITH, WHO DIED NOVEMBER 3, 1927, AT LAREDO, TEX., FROM A SELF-INFLICTED GUN SHOT WOUND WHILE A STAFF SERGEANT OF THE AIR CORPS, UNITED STATES ARMY.

NEITHER OF THE CLAIMANTS APPEARS TO HAVE INCURRED ANY EXPENSE INCIDENT TO THE BURIAL OF THE SOLDIER, AT LEAST THEIR CLAIMS ARE NOT ASSERTED UPON PAYMENT OF BURIAL EXPENSES. IT APPEARS THAT AT THE TIME OF SERGEANT SMITH'S DEATH THERE WAS DUE HIM FROM THE UNITED STATES $7.92 PAY, $21.16 FOR CLOTHING, AND $21.42 REPRESENTING CASH IN HIS POSSESSION; AND THE SOLDIER WAS INDEBTED TO THE SQUADRON FUND IN THE AMOUNT OF $39.70. SUPPORT OF THEIR RESPECTIVE CLAIMS THERE HAVE BEEN PRESENTED EVIDENCE TENDING TO SHOW THAT THERE WERE EFFECTED BY THE SOLDIER MARRIAGE CEREMONIES WITH LENNIE ADA GUY, OF HAMPTON, VA., ON MARCH 6, 1920; WITH EMY L. DROST, OF LOS ANGELES, CALIF., ON DECEMBER 19, 1924, AND IT IS OF RECORD THAT THE SOLDIER MARRIED MARIE A. DRAHER, OF BEXAR COUNTY, TEX., ON SEPTEMBER 19, 1927. NO EVIDENCE HAS BEEN PRESENTED TO INDICATE WHICH, IF ANY, OF THE AFORESAID MARRIAGES WAS DISSOLVED BY DIVORCE, BUT IT HAS BEEN REPORTED BY THE ADJUTANT GENERAL OF THE ARMY THAT THE SOLDIER UPON REENLISTMENT JULY 12, 1920, DESIGNATED MRS. LENNIE ADA SMITH (WIFE) OF HAMPTON, VA.; ON REENLISTMENT JULY 24, 1923, HE DESIGNATED LENNIE ADA SMITH (WIFE), HAMPTON, VA.; ON REENLISTMENT JULY 24, 1926, HE DESIGNATED MRS. EMMA (EMY) D. SMITH (WIFE), 840 WEST FORTY-THIRD STREET, LOS ANGELES, CALIF., AND AT THE TIME OF HIS DEATH THE RECORDS SHOW AS HIS WIFE MRS. MARIE SMITH, 235 BROCKWOOD COURT, SAN ANTONIO, TEX., TO WHOM HIS PERSONAL EFFECTS WERE DELIVERED BY ARMY AUTHORITIES.

THE ACT OF JUNE 30, 1906, 34 STAT. 750, PROVIDES:

HEREAFTER, IN THE SETTLEMENT OF THE ACCOUNTS OF DECEASED OFFICERS OR ENLISTED MEN OF THE ARMY, WHERE THE AMOUNT DUE THE DECEDENT'S ESTATE IS LESS THAN FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS AND NO DEMAND IS PRESENTED BY A DULY APPOINTED LEGAL REPRESENTATIVE OF THE ESTATE, THE ACCOUNTING OFFICERS MAY ALLOW THE AMOUNT FOUND DUE TO THE DECEDENT'S WIDOW OR LEGAL HEIRS IN THE FOLLOWING ORDER OF PRECEDENCE: FIRST, TO THE WIDOW; SECOND, IF DECEDENT LEFT NO WIDOW, OR THE WIDOW BE DEAD AT TIME OF SETTLEMENT, THEN TO THE CHILDREN OR THEIR ISSUE, PER STIRPES; THIRD, IF NO WIDOW OR DESCENDANTS, THEN TO THE FATHER AND MOTHER IN EQUAL PARTS, PROVIDED THE FATHER HAS NOT ABANDONED THE SUPPORT OF HIS FAMILY, IN WHICH CASE TO THE MOTHER ALONE; FOURTH, IF EITHER THE FATHER OR MOTHER BE DEAD THEN TO THE ONE SURVIVING; FIFTH, IF THERE BE NO WIDOW, CHILD, FATHER, OR MOTHER AT THE DATE OF SETTLEMENT, THEN TO THE BROTHERS AND SISTERS AND CHILDREN OF DECEASED BROTHERS AND SISTERS, PER STIRPES: * * *

WHERE CLAIMS OF THIS NATURE UNDER THE ACT OF JUNE 30, 1906, FOR ARREARS OF PAY DUE AT DATE OF DEATH, ARE PRESENTED BY SEVERAL PARTIES EACH CLAIMING AS THE SURVIVING WIDOW AND IT IS ALSO SHOWN THAT A MARRIAGE CEREMONY SUBSEQUENT TO THAT OF EITHER OF THE CLAIMANTS WAS ALSO EFFECTED BETWEEN THE SOLDIER AND ANOTHER PARTY, WHO HAS NOT MADE HER WHEREABOUTS KNOWN AND WHO HAS NOT PRESENTED HER CLAIM, AND THERE EXISTS SUFFICIENT DOUBT WHETHER THE SOLDIER HAD BEEN DIVORCED, NO ALLOWANCES MAYBE MADE TO ANY OF THE PERSONS CLAIMING; IN THE INTEREST OF THE GOVERNMENT AND OF THE ALLEGED WIDOW NOT CLAIMING, THE AMOUNT DUE MUST BE RETAINED FOR PAYMENT ONLY UPON A CLAIM PRESENTED BY A DULY APPOINTED LEGAL REPRESENTATIVE OF THE DECEASED SOLDIER'S ESTATE.

THE CLAIMS OF MRS. LENNIE ADA SMITH AND OF MRS. EMY L. DROST SMITH ARE ACCORDINGLY DISALLOWED.