A-93091, APRIL 1, 1938, 17 COMP. GEN. 803

A-93091: Apr 1, 1938

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REAL ESTATE - TRANSFER OF LAND BY "DEED" - AGRICULTURAL ADJUSTMENT WHEAT CONTRACT PAYMENTS "DEED" IS A TECHNICAL TERM AND. WHEAT ALLOTMENT CONTRACT WAS MADE TO TRANSFEREE OF LAND IN ACCORDANCE WITH NOTICE OF CHANGE OF OWNERSHIP. PAYMENT MAY NOT ALSO BE/MADE TO THE TRANSFEROR ON THE BASIS THAT THE DEED REFERRED TO IN THE NOTICE OF TRANSFER WAS A QUITCLAIM DEED WAIVING RIGHT OF REDEMPTION AFTER FORECLOSURE SALE. 1938: THERE WAS SUBMITTED TO THIS OFFICE FOR AUDIT IN ADVANCE OF PAYMENT VOUCHER NO. 49-096-252-2-34-GX-74. THE CONTRACT INVOLVED WAS SIGNED BY KATHERINE B. MURPHY AS LANDLORD AND UPON SUBMISSION OF PROOF OF COMPLIANCE THE FIRST AND SECOND 1933 LANDLORD'S PAYMENTS AND THE FIRST 1934 LANDLORD'S PAYMENT WERE PAID TO HER.

A-93091, APRIL 1, 1938, 17 COMP. GEN. 803

REAL ESTATE - TRANSFER OF LAND BY "DEED" - AGRICULTURAL ADJUSTMENT WHEAT CONTRACT PAYMENTS "DEED" IS A TECHNICAL TERM AND, IN THE ABSENCE OF DESCRIPTIVE OR QUALIFYING WORDS, WHEN USED IN CONNECTION WITH A TRANSFER OF REALTY, GENERALLY MAY BE ACCEPTED AS EVIDENCE OF A VOLUNTARY CONVEYANCE OF AN ESTATE NOT LESS THAN A FREEHOLD. WHERE PAYMENT UNDER A.A.A. WHEAT ALLOTMENT CONTRACT WAS MADE TO TRANSFEREE OF LAND IN ACCORDANCE WITH NOTICE OF CHANGE OF OWNERSHIP, INDICATING VOLUNTARY TRANSFER OF THE PROPERTY, FILED WITH THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE AS EVIDENCE IN DETERMINING TO WHOM SUBSEQUENT PAYMENTS SHOULD BE MADE, AND RECITING THAT THE TRANSFEREE HAD BECOME THE OWNER BY VIRTUE OF A DEED, PAYMENT MAY NOT ALSO BE/MADE TO THE TRANSFEROR ON THE BASIS THAT THE DEED REFERRED TO IN THE NOTICE OF TRANSFER WAS A QUITCLAIM DEED WAIVING RIGHT OF REDEMPTION AFTER FORECLOSURE SALE, NOTWITHSTANDING ADMINISTRATIVE REGULATIONS PROVIDE FOR PAYMENTS TO THE TRANSFEROR UNDER A TRANSFER BY OPERATION OF LAW WITHOUT THE VOLITION OF THE TRANSFEROR, THE ALLEGED ERRONEOUS PAYMENTS TO THE TRANSFEREE, IF ERRONEOUS, HAVING BEEN INDUCED BY THE ACT OF NEGLIGENCE OF THE TRANSFEROR.

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL ELLIOTT TO THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE, APRIL 1, 1938:

THERE WAS SUBMITTED TO THIS OFFICE FOR AUDIT IN ADVANCE OF PAYMENT VOUCHER NO. 49-096-252-2-34-GX-74, KATHERINE B. MURPHY, COVERING PAYMENTS CLAIMED UNDER PROVISIONS OF THE SUPPLEMENTAL APPROPRIATION ACT OF FEBRUARY 11, 1936, 49 STAT. 1116, FOR OBLIGATIONS ARISING IN CONNECTION WITH 1933- 35 WHEAT ALLOTMENT CONTRACT NO. 49-096-350.

THE CONTRACT INVOLVED WAS SIGNED BY KATHERINE B. MURPHY AS LANDLORD AND UPON SUBMISSION OF PROOF OF COMPLIANCE THE FIRST AND SECOND 1933 LANDLORD'S PAYMENTS AND THE FIRST 1934 LANDLORD'S PAYMENT WERE PAID TO HER. FORM W-54, 1935 CERTIFICATE OF COMPLIANCE, INDICATES THAT IRA E. SWAIN WAS THE 1935 LANDLORD AND KATHERINE B. MURPHY WAS THE 1934 LANDLORD. ACCOMPANYING FORM W-54 WAS A CHANGE IN LEGAL STATUS FORM SHOWING A TRANSFER OF THE OWNERSHIP OF THE FARM COVERED BY THE CONTRACT FROM KATHERINE B. MURPHY TO IRA E. SWAIN BY VIRTUE OF A DEED DATED JULY 30, 1934. THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE TRANSACTION WERE NOT SHOWN AND THE EVIDENCE OF TRANSFER INDICATED VOLUNTARY ACTION. THE NOTICE OF TRANSFER DATED NOVEMBER 9, 1934, BEARS THE SIGNATURE OF KATHERINE B. MURPHY. BASED UPON THIS INFORMATION THE LANDLORD'S SECOND 1934 AND ALL 1935 PAYMENTS WERE PAID TO THE TRANSFEREE, IRA E. SWAIN.

EVIDENCE NOW IN THE FILE INDICATES THAT THE DEED REFERRED TO IN THE NOTICE OF TRANSFER OF OWNERSHIP WAS A QUITCLAIM DEED WAIVING RIGHT OF REDEMPTION AFTER A SHERIFF'S SALE AND WHILE THE EXECUTION OF THE QUITCLAIM DEED RELINQUISHING TITLE AND ALL BENEFICIAL INTEREST IN THE PROPERTY WAS A VOLUNTARY ACT, THE TRANSFER OF OWNERSHIP, STRICTLY SPEAKING, WAS THE RESULT OF THE SHERIFF'S SALE. APPARENTLY, THIS EVIDENCE WAS RECEIVED AFTER PAYMENTS WERE MADE TO IRA E. SWAIN. THE AGRICULTURAL ADJUSTMENT ADMINISTRATION HAS RECOMMENDED THAT THE SECOND 1934 LANDLORD'S PAYMENT TO BE PAID TO KATHERINE B. MURPHY, THE PRIOR PAYMENT THEREOF TO IRA E. SWAIN NOTWITHSTANDING.

IF THE TRANSFER OF OWNERSHIP WAS VOLUNTARY, THE PAYMENT TO THE TRANSFEREE WAS PROPER AND SHOULD NOT BE DISTURBED. IF THE TRANSFER OF OWNERSHIP WAS BROUGHT ABOUT BY OPERATION OF LAW WITHOUT THE VOLITION OF THE TRANSFEROR, MRS. MURPHY, THE PAYMENT OF THE SECOND 1934 LANDLORD'S PAYMENT TO THE TRANSFEREE WAS ERRONEOUS AND MRS. MURPHY WOULD APPEAR ENTITLED THERETO UNLESS SHE IS ESTOPPED BY SOME ACTION OF HER OWN FROM ASSERTING CLAIM THEREFOR. MEMORANDUM FOR THE ACTING ADMINISTRATOR APPROVED BY YOU JUNE 4, 1936.

IT APPEARS THAT SHERIFF'S SALE WAS MADE ON APRIL 23, 1934, AND THE COURT FIXED THE PERIOD OF REDEMPTION AT 18 MONTHS. IF NO OTHER ACTION HAD BEEN TAKEN, THE MORTGAGOR, MRS. MURPHY, WOULD HAVE BEEN ENTITLED TO RECEIVE ALL LANDLORD PAYMENTS FOR THE YEAR 1934. SECTION 509, WHEAT REGULATIONS, SERIES 2, REVISION 1, JUNE 30, 1934. HOWEVER, THAT IS NOT THE CASE HERE. THE PARTIES BY THEIR OWN VOLITION TOOK ACTION WHICH COMPLETED TRANSFER OF OWNERSHIP WITHOUT AWAITING CONSUMMATION THEREOF BY PROCESS OF LAW. PAYMENT TO TRANSFEREE, IRA E. SWAIN, WAS BASED UPON INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THE NOTICE OF CHANGE IN OWNERSHIP. THIS NOTICE RECITED THAT IRA E. SWAIN HAD BECOME THE OWNER OF THE LANDS COVERED BY THE CONTRACT BY VIRTUE OF A DEED DATED JULY 30, 1934. "DEED" IS A TECHNICAL TERM, AND IN THE ABSENCE OF DESCRIPTIVE OR QUALIFYING WORDS, WHEN USED IN CONNECTION WITH A TRANSFER OF REALTY, GENERALLY MAY BE ACCEPTED AS EVIDENCE OF A VOLUNTARY CONVEYANCE OF AN ESTATE NOT LESS THAN A FREEHOLD. THE NOTICE OF NOVEMBER 9, 1934, RECITING THAT IRA. E. SWAIN HAD BECOME THE OWNER OF THE FARM BY VIRTUE OF A DEED WAS SIGNED BY KATHERINE B. MURPHY AS WELL AS BY SAID SWAIN AND WAS FILED WITH THE AGRICULTURAL ADJUSTMENT ADMINISTRATION AS EVIDENCE FOR USE IN DECIDING TO WHOM PAYMENTS SHOULD BE MADE THEREAFTER. BASED UPON THAT EVIDENCE, THE SECOND 1934 PAYMENT WAS MADE TO SAID SWAIN. PAYMENT TO MRS. MURPHY WOULD RESULT IN A DUPLICATE CHARGE AGAINST THE APPROPRIATION AND SHOULD NOT BE MADE UNLESS THE PAYMENT TO MR. SWAIN CLEARLY WAS ERRONEOUS AND WAS NOT IN ANY WAY CAUSED OR INDUCED BY ANY ACT OR NEGLIGENCE ON THE PART OF MRS. MURPHY. SEE 16 COMP. GEN. 837.

UPON THE FACTS AS THEY APPEAR OF RECORD, IT WOULD APPEAR THAT THE AGRICULTURAL ADJUSTMENT ADMINISTRATION WAS JUSTIFIED IN MAKING PAYMENT TO IRA E. SWAIN. IF THERE WAS NEGLIGENCE, THE ACTION OF MRS. MURPHY WAS A CONTRIBUTORY FACTOR THEREIN, AND WHILE, UNDER REGULATIONS APPROVED BY YOU, EXCEPT FOR HER VOLUNTARY ACTION SHE WOULD HAVE BEEN ENTITLED TO RECEIVE THE SECOND 1934 LANDLORD'S PAYMENT, THE APPROPRIATION IS NOT AVAILABLE TO MAKE PAYMENT TO HER AFTER SHE HAD JOINED WITH HER SUCCESSOR IN OWNERSHIP IN FURNISHING EVIDENCE WHICH ENABLED HIM TO OBTAIN SAID PAYMENT. UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES THE VOUCHER WILL BE RETURNED THROUGH REGULAR CHANNELS WITHOUT CERTIFICATION FOR PAYMENT.