A-98686, MAY 4, 1939, 18 COMP. GEN. 822

A-98686: May 4, 1939

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- IS NOT A PRODUCER WITHIN THE MEANING OF THAT TERM AS USED AND DEFINED IN SECTION 101 OF THE SUGAR ACT OF 1937. THEREFORE IS NOT ENTITLED TO PAYMENT UNDER THE ACT. DOES NOT PRECLUDE PAYMENT TO THE LANDLORD IF OTHERWISE THE CONDITIONS OF THE ACT AS TO FILING OF APPLICATIONS AND GENERAL COMPLIANCE HAVE BEEN MET. 1939: I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 6. AS FOLLOWS: THIS IS WITH REFERENCE TO OUR LETTER OF NOVEMBER 30. WAS SIGNED ON BEHALF OF THE COLORADO STATE PRISON AS TENANT AND THE HARDING HARDWARE COMPANY. AT THE TIME THIS CASE WAS UNDER CONSIDERATION PRIOR TO OUR LETTER OF NOVEMBER 30. CONSEQUENTLY IS CLAIMING AN AMOUNT OF $70.33 OF THE TOTAL PAYMENT OF $351.64 SHOWN ON APPLICATION. IT IS THE OPINION OF THE DEPARTMENT THAT IT WAS NOT THE INTENT OF CONGRESS IN SECTION 301 (B) OF THE SUGAR ACT OF 1937 TO REQUIRE THE PAYMENT OF WAGES IN A CASE OF THIS NATURE.

A-98686, MAY 4, 1939, 18 COMP. GEN. 822

SUGAR ACT OF 1937 - PAYMENT TO LANDLORD WHERE TENANT PRECLUDED FROM PAYMENT THE MERE FACT THAT A TENANT--- IN THIS CASE A STATE PRISON--- IS NOT A PRODUCER WITHIN THE MEANING OF THAT TERM AS USED AND DEFINED IN SECTION 101 OF THE SUGAR ACT OF 1937, 50 STAT. 903, AND THEREFORE IS NOT ENTITLED TO PAYMENT UNDER THE ACT, DOES NOT PRECLUDE PAYMENT TO THE LANDLORD IF OTHERWISE THE CONDITIONS OF THE ACT AS TO FILING OF APPLICATIONS AND GENERAL COMPLIANCE HAVE BEEN MET, BUT IN CONNECTION WITH SUCH PAYMENTS, FAILURE OF COMPLIANCE OF THE TENANT MUST BE IMPUTED TO THE LANDLORD, ALSO.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL BROWN TO THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE, MAY 4, 1939:

I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 6, 1939, AS FOLLOWS:

THIS IS WITH REFERENCE TO OUR LETTER OF NOVEMBER 30, 1938, IN REPLY TO YOUR LETTER NO. A-98686 WITH RESPECT TO THE APPLICATION FOR PAYMENT FORM SB-110 SUBMITTED BY THE COLORADO STATE PRISON UNDER THE COLORADO STATE PRISON UNDER THE 1937 SUGAR-BEET PROGRAM.

THE APPLICATION IN QUESTION BEARS STATE AND COUNTY CODE NUMBER 84 022 AND SERIAL NUMBER 6, AND WAS SIGNED ON BEHALF OF THE COLORADO STATE PRISON AS TENANT AND THE HARDING HARDWARE COMPANY, OF CANON CITY, COLORADO, AS LANDLORD. HOWEVER, AT THE TIME THIS CASE WAS UNDER CONSIDERATION PRIOR TO OUR LETTER OF NOVEMBER 30, THIS DEPARTMENT HAD NO KNOWLEDGE THAT A LANDLORD-TENANT RELATIONSHIP EXISTED WITH RESPECT TO THE LAND INVOLVED, AND ASSUMED FROM YOUR LETTER THAT THE COLORADO STATE PRISON OWNED AND OPERATED THE FARMING UNIT. SUBSEQUENTLY IT HAS DEVELOPED THAT THE HARDING HARDWARE COMPANY, AS OWNER OF THE LAND, RECEIVES 20 PERCENT OF THE SUGAR BEETS PRODUCED THEREON, AND CONSEQUENTLY IS CLAIMING AN AMOUNT OF $70.33 OF THE TOTAL PAYMENT OF $351.64 SHOWN ON APPLICATION.

AS STATED IN OUR LETTER OF NOVEMBER 30, IT IS THE OPINION OF THE DEPARTMENT THAT IT WAS NOT THE INTENT OF CONGRESS IN SECTION 301 (B) OF THE SUGAR ACT OF 1937 TO REQUIRE THE PAYMENT OF WAGES IN A CASE OF THIS NATURE. IT APPEARS THE TERM "EMPLOYED" WAS USED IN SECTION 301 (B) OF THE ACT IN A SENSE SYNONYMOUS WITH THE TERM "HIRED," SINCE SUCH SUBSECTION DEALS EXCLUSIVELY WITH THE PAYMENT OF WAGES. THE USE OF CONVICT LABOR IN THE "PRODUCTION, CULTIVATION, AND HARVESTING" OF THE SUGAR BEETS WOULD, THEREFORE, NOT BE A VIOLATION OF THIS CONDITION, SINCE THE CONVICT LABOR WAS NOT ,EMPLOYED" TO DO SUCH WORK.

IT IS THE DESIRE OF THIS DEPARTMENT THAT THE CASE IN QUESTION BE REOPENED AND THAT PAYMENT BE MADE TO THE LANDLORD INVOLVED UPON RESUBMISSION OF THE APPLICATION. EVEN THOUGH THE COLORADO STATE PRISON, BY REASON OF THE DEFINITION OF THE TERM "PERSON" IN SECTION 101 (A) OF THE ACT, IS INELIGIBLE TO RECEIVE PAYMENT UNDER SUCH ACT, IT IS FELT THAT TO DENY PAYMENT TO THE LANDLORD WOULD BE TO DENY SUCH LANDLORD THE CONSIDERATION ACCORDED ANY LANDLORD WHO RENTS LAND FOR A SHARE OF THE SUGAR-BEET CROP.

YOUR DECISION WITH RESPECT TO THIS MATTER IS RESPECTFULLY REQUESTED.

SECTION 301 OF THE SUGAR ACT OF 1937, 50 STAT. 909, SETS OUT THE CONDITIONS PRECEDENT TO MAKING PAYMENTS TO SUGAR PRODUCERS. YOU HAVE DETERMINED THAT THE COLORADO STATE PRISON--- THE TENANT IN THIS INSTANCE-- - IS NOT A "PRODUCER" WITHIN THE MEANING OF THAT TERM AS USED AND DEFINED IN THE STATUTE, BUT YOU SUBMIT FOR CONSIDERATION WHETHER THE LANDLORD MAY NOT RECEIVE PAYMENT EVEN THOUGH THE TENANT ON THE FARM ON WHICH THE CROP WAS PRODUCED IS PRECLUDED FROM RECEIVING ITS SHARE OF THE PAYMENT FOUND DUE ON THE FARM.

THE TERM "PRODUCER" AS DEFINED IN THE ACT INCLUDES PARTNERSHIPS, CORPORATIONS, AND ASSOCIATIONS AND IT MAY BE ASSUMED THAT THE HARDING HARDWARE CO., OF CANON CITY, COLO., AS OWNER OF THE FARMS, IS AUTHORIZED TO MAKE AN APPLICATION FOR PAYMENT. HOWEVER, IF IN THE PRODUCTION OF THE CROP, THE TENANT FAILED TO COMPLY WITH THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 301 OF THE ACT SETTING FORTH THE CONDITIONS UPON COMPLIANCE WITH WHICH THE PAYMENTS ARE AUTHORIZED, SUCH FAILURE TO COMPLY MUST BE IMPUTED TO THE LANDLORD, ALSO. WHILE IT IS ADMITTED THAT THE CROP WAS PRODUCED BY PRISON LABOR AND THE PRISONERS RECEIVED NO WAGES, YOU HAVE DETERMINED THAT THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 301 (B) OF THE ACT, RELATIVE TO PAYMENT OF WAGES, ARE NOT FOR APPLICATION HERE BECAUSE THE PRISONERS WERE NOT ,EMPLOYED" WITHIN THE MEANING OF THAT TERM AS USED IN THE ACT. IN VIEW OF THE AUTHORITY VESTED IN YOU UNDER THE ACT, THIS OFFICE IS NOT REQUIRED TO QUESTION SUCH ADMINISTRATIVE DETERMINATION.

THE APPLICATION DESCRIBED IN YOUR LETTER WAS RETURNED TO THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE AND THE RECORD HERE FAILS TO DISCLOSE THE FACTS CONSTITUTING THE BASIS FOR THE PAYMENT PROPOSED TO THE HARDING HARDWARE CO.; BUT IF IT HAS COMPLIED WITH THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE ACT AND HAS NOT VIOLATED ANY OF THE CONDITIONS UNDER WHICH PAYMENTS ARE AUTHORIZED, EITHER DIRECTLY OR THROUGH THE TENANT, THE MERE FACT THAT THE TENANT, BECAUSE NOT A PERSON, IS NOT ENTITLED TO PAYMENT DOES NOT PRECLUDE PAYMENT TO THE LANDLORD. IF THE FACTS JUSTIFY SUCH ACTION, THE APPLICATION MAY BE RETURNED TO THIS OFFICE FOR FURTHER CONSIDERATION.