A-9422, JUNE 12, 1925, 4 COMP. GEN. 1033

A-9422: Jun 12, 1925

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PUBLIC LAND - REFUND OF EXCESS PURCHASE MONEY A REQUEST FROM AN ATTORNEY FOR INFORMATION IS NOT A "REQUEST FOR THE REPAYMENT" BY ONE OR ALL OF THE HEIRS WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE ACT OF DECEMBER 11. THE DISALLOWANCE WAS UPON THE GROUND THAT THE APPLICATION FOR REFUND WAS NOT FILED WITHIN THE TIME LIMITS FIXED BY THE ACT OF DECEMBER 11. THE LAND EMBRACED IN THE ENTRY WAS WITHIN PRIMARY LIMITS OF THE GRANT TO THE NORTHERN PACIFIC RAILROAD CO. AS FIXED BY THE MAP OF GENERAL ROUTE AND WAS PAID FOR AT $2.50 PER ACRE AS BEING DOUBLE MINIMUM LANDS. THE GRANT WAS FORFEITED BY FAILURE OF THE RAILROAD TO CONSTRUCT THE LINE. ACCORDINGLY THOSE WHO PAID MORE THAN THE MINIMUM PRICE OF $1.25 PER ACRE WERE ENTITLED TO A REFUND OF THE EXCESS IF CLAIM THEREFOR WAS PRESENTED WITHIN THE TIME PRESCRIBED BY LAW.

A-9422, JUNE 12, 1925, 4 COMP. GEN. 1033

PUBLIC LAND - REFUND OF EXCESS PURCHASE MONEY A REQUEST FROM AN ATTORNEY FOR INFORMATION IS NOT A "REQUEST FOR THE REPAYMENT" BY ONE OR ALL OF THE HEIRS WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE ACT OF DECEMBER 11, 1919, 41 STAT. 366, PROVIDING FOR THE REFUND OF EXCESS PURCHASE MONEY PAID FOR PUBLIC LAND, AND AN APPLICATION OR REQUEST FOR REPAYMENT FILED AFTER THE EXPIRATION OF THE TIME LIMIT CAN NOT BE HELD TO RELATE BACK TO THE FILING OF A REQUEST FOR INFORMATION SO AS TO ENTITLE TO REFUND.

DECISION BY COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL, JUNE 12, 1925:

REVIEW HAS BEEN REQUESTED FOR AND IN BEHALF OF THE WIDOW AND CHILDREN OF WILLIAM J. CORKRUM, DECEASED, OF SETTLEMENT 051270 OF OCTOBER 11, 1924, DISALLOWING THE CLAIM OF THE WIDOW AND CHILDREN FOR REFUND OF EXCESS PURCHASE MONEY PAID BY HIM NOVEMBER 18, 1881, ON PREEMPTION ENTRY FOR THE SOUTHEAST QUARTER OF SECTION 30, TOWNSHIP 8 NORTH, RANGE 37 EAST, WILLAMETTE MERIDIAN. THE DISALLOWANCE WAS UPON THE GROUND THAT THE APPLICATION FOR REFUND WAS NOT FILED WITHIN THE TIME LIMITS FIXED BY THE ACT OF DECEMBER 11, 1919, 41 STAT. 366.

THE LAND EMBRACED IN THE ENTRY WAS WITHIN PRIMARY LIMITS OF THE GRANT TO THE NORTHERN PACIFIC RAILROAD CO. AS FIXED BY THE MAP OF GENERAL ROUTE AND WAS PAID FOR AT $2.50 PER ACRE AS BEING DOUBLE MINIMUM LANDS. THE GRANT WAS FORFEITED BY FAILURE OF THE RAILROAD TO CONSTRUCT THE LINE, AND ACCORDINGLY THOSE WHO PAID MORE THAN THE MINIMUM PRICE OF $1.25 PER ACRE WERE ENTITLED TO A REFUND OF THE EXCESS IF CLAIM THEREFOR WAS PRESENTED WITHIN THE TIME PRESCRIBED BY LAW. SEE DECISION OF JANUARY 29, 1921, BY THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR, 47 L.D. 628.

THE ACT OF DECEMBER 11, 1919, 41 STAT. 366, REQUIRES ALL APPLICATIONS FOR REFUND OF EXCESS PURCHASE MONEYS PAID IN CONNECTION WITH PUBLIC-LAND ENTRIES TO BE FILED WITHIN TWO YEARS AFTER THE DATE OF PATENT OR THE REJECTION OF THE ENTRY OR WITHIN TWO YEARS AFTER THE DATE OF THE ACT. THE LAST DATE UPON WHICH AN APPLICATION FOR REFUND COULD BE FILED IN THIS CASE WAS, THEREFORE, DECEMBER 12, 1921 (DECEMBER 11, 1921, FALLING ON SUNDAY). SEE 2 COMP. GEN. 379.

ON JULY 20, 1921, THE GENERAL LAND OFFICE RECEIVED A LETTER FROM ONE JOSEPH ROSSLOW IN THE FOLLOWING TENOR:

WILLIAM J. CORKRUM MADE ENTRY ON SE. 1/4 OF SEC. 30 IN T. 8 N.R. 37 E W.M. IN WALLA WALLA COUNTY, WASHINGTON, PAYING $1.25 PER ACRE MORE THAN REQUIRED BY LAW, APPARENTLY BECAUSE WITHIN NORTHERN PACIFIC RAILROAD GRANT. I UNDERSTAND THE QUESTION HAS BEEN SETTLED SO THAT UPON PROPER APPLICATION THE DEPARTMENT WILL ORDER A REFUND OF THE EXCESS.

IF SO, PLEASE ADVISE ME, SO THAT APPLICATION MAY BE MADE FOR REFUND.

ROSSLOW AGAIN WROTE THE GENERAL LAND OFFICE SEPTEMBER 28, 1921, LETTER RECEIVED OCTOBER 3, 1921, REQUESTING FURTHER INFORMATION, BUT IN NEITHER COMMUNICATION DID HE FURNISH A POWER OF ATTORNEY FROM THE WIDOW OR ANY OF THE HEIRS NOR MAKE ANY DEFINITE APPLICATION FOR REFUND.

NOTHING FURTHER APPEARS TO HAVE BEEN RECEIVED IN THE GENERAL LAND OFFICE WITH REFERENCE TO THE MATTER UNTIL MAY 8, 1922, WHEN AN APPLICATION FOR REPAYMENT SIGNED BY MARTHA A. CORKRUM WAS FILED IN WHICH SHE ALLEGES THAT SHE IS THE WIDOW OF THE DECEASED ENTRYMAN AND APPOINTS JOSEPH ROSSLOW ,MY TRUE AND LAWFUL ATTORNEY.' THIS APPLICATION WAS ACKNOWLEDGED APRIL 21, 1922, BEFORE JOSEPH ROSSLOW AS NOTARY PUBLIC. THEREAFTER, ON AUGUST 29, 1922, ADDITIONAL AFFIDAVITS WERE FILED BY THE VARIOUS HEIRS MAKING FORMAL APPLICATION AND ACKNOWLEDGING THE APPOINTMENT OF ROSSLOW AS ATTORNEY. THE WIDOW ALSO FILED THEREAFTER AN AFFIDAVIT DATED JULY 28, 1923, ALLEGING THAT SHE HAD BEEN AUTHORIZED ORALLY BY ALL OF THE HEIRS PRIOR TO JULY 16, 1921, TO REPRESENT THEM IN PROCURING REPAYMENT OF THE EXCESS MONEYS, AND THAT SHE HAD ALSO PRIOR TO THAT DATE EMPLOYED JOSEPH ROSSLOW TO ACT FOR AND ON BEHALF OF ALL THE HEIRS ENTITLED THERETO.

THE ACT OF DECEMBER 11, 1919, 41 STAT. 366, REQUIRES:

* * * THAT SUCH PERSON OR HIS LEGAL REPRESENTATIVES SHALL FILE A REQUEST FOR THE REPAYMENT OF SUCH EXCESS WITHIN TWO YEARS AFTER THE PATENT HAS ISSUED FOR THE LAND EMBRACED IN SUCH PAYMENT, OR WITHIN TWO YEARS FROM THE PASSAGE OF THIS ACT AS TO SUCH EXCESS PAYMENTS AS HAVE HERETOFORE BEEN MADE.

A REQUEST FOR INFORMATION SUCH AS FILED BY THE ATTORNEY IN THIS CASE, EVEN ASSUMING THAT HE WAS AT THAT TIME AUTHORIZED TO ACT FOR AND IN BEHALF OF ANY OR ALL OF THE CLAIMANTS, CAN NOT BE CONSIDERED AS "A REQUEST FOR THE REPAYMENT," WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE ACT. SEE 19 COMP. DEC. 508; 3 COMP. GEN. 811. THE APPLICATIONS BY THE WIDOW MAY 8, 1922, AND THE HEIRS AUGUST 29, 1922, WERE NOT FILED WITHIN THE TIME LIMIT.