B-123177, MAY 24, 1955

B-123177: May 24, 1955

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JR.: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 1. THE INDEBTEDNESS AROSE FROM A LOSS OF FUNDS FOR WHICH YOU WERE HELD PECUNIARILY RESPONSIBLE BY THE DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY. YOU DENY THAT THE LOSS WAS INVESTIGATED BY TWO BOARDS OF OFFICERS AND REVIEWED AND APPROVED BY DIFFERENT COMMANDING OFFICERS AS STATED IN OUR LETTER OF FEBRUARY 16. 1955 AND STATE THAT AN AUDIT WAS MADE BY ONE PERSON. YOU STATE THAT "HIS BOARD'S REPORT WAS NOT APPROVED BY THE ULTIMATE COMMANDER. YOU STATE THAT YOU WERE UNABLE TO OFFER EVIDENCE WHICH YOU HAD TO CONTRADICT MUCH OF THE BOARD'S REPORT. BECAUSE YOU WERE UNDER PROSECUTION FOR LARCENY AND "ALL FACTS WE HAD WERE OF NECESSITY WITHHELD TO BE USED TO ESTABLISH MY INNOCENCE" IN THE EVENT OF A TRIAL.

B-123177, MAY 24, 1955

PRECIS-UNAVAILABLE

BERNARD E. WRIGLEY, JR.:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 1, 1955, IN REPLY TO OUR LETTER DATED FEBRUARY 16, RELATIVE TO YOUR INDEBTEDNESS TO THE UNITED STATES, IN THE SUM OF $3,791.30 PLUS INTEREST IN THE SUM OF $697.39, COMPUTED TO DECEMBER 31, 1954. THE INDEBTEDNESS AROSE FROM A LOSS OF FUNDS FOR WHICH YOU WERE HELD PECUNIARILY RESPONSIBLE BY THE DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY.

YOU DENY THAT THE LOSS WAS INVESTIGATED BY TWO BOARDS OF OFFICERS AND REVIEWED AND APPROVED BY DIFFERENT COMMANDING OFFICERS AS STATED IN OUR LETTER OF FEBRUARY 16, 1955 AND STATE THAT AN AUDIT WAS MADE BY ONE PERSON, A CAPTAIN BABCOCK. YOU STATE THAT "HIS BOARD'S REPORT WAS NOT APPROVED BY THE ULTIMATE COMMANDER, THUS NECESSITATING ANOTHER BOARD. THIS BOARD THEN ACCEPTED THE FIGURES WITHOUT QUESTION THAT CAPTAIN BABCOCK HAD PRESENTED."

ALSO, YOU STATE THAT YOU WERE UNABLE TO OFFER EVIDENCE WHICH YOU HAD TO CONTRADICT MUCH OF THE BOARD'S REPORT, BECAUSE YOU WERE UNDER PROSECUTION FOR LARCENY AND "ALL FACTS WE HAD WERE OF NECESSITY WITHHELD TO BE USED TO ESTABLISH MY INNOCENCE" IN THE EVENT OF A TRIAL. YOU FURTHER STATE THAT THE FACT THAT THE PROSECUTION WAS UNABLE TO BRING THE CHARGES TO TRIAL SHOULD INDICATE THAT THE BOARD "WAS NOT WHOLLY JUSTIFIED." ALSO, YOU SUBMIT SEVERAL STATEMENTS WHICH YOU BELIEVE WILL DISPROVE PARTIALLY THE CLAIMED SHORTAGE, AND YOU REQUEST THAT STEPS BE TAKEN FOR A REINVESTIGATION OF THE CASE.

REGARDING YOUR DENIAL THAT THE LOSS WAS INVESTIGATED BY TWO BOARDS, YOU ARE ADVISED THAT A REPORT RECEIVED HERE FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY STATES THAT A BOARD CONVENED DECEMBER 6, 1951, FOUND, AFTER A FINAL AUDIT, THAT THERE WAS A SHORTAGE OF $3,791.30 AND RECOMMENDED THAT YOU BE HELD RESPONSIBLE. THE REPORT FURTHER STATES ANOTHER IMPARTIAL BOARD CONVENED JUNE 17, 1952, FOR THE PURPOSE OF FIXING PECUNIARY RESPONSIBILITY FOUND YOU LIABLE FOR THE SHORTAGE AND THAT BOTH BOARDS WERE REVIEWED AND APPROVED BY DIFFERENT COMMANDING OFFICERS. AS TO YOUR STATEMENT THAT YOU WERE REQUIRED TO WITHHOLD EVIDENCE AS A PROTECTION AGAINST THE CHARGE OF LARCENY, YOU ARE ADVISED THAT THE DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY'S FINDINGS WITH RESPECT TO THE AMOUNT OF SHORTAGES IN YOUR ACCOUNTS WERE NOT CONTINGENT UPON YOUR GUILT OR INNOCENCE OF LARCENY. IN FACT, THE RECORD SHOWS THAT CAPTAIN FRANCIS M. COOPER, JAGC, WHO WAS YOUR COUNSEL IN THE COURT-MARTIAL PROCEEDINGS INSTIGATED AGAINST YOU, WAS NOT APPOINTED UNTIL AFTER THE SECOND BOARD CONVENED FOR THE PURPOSE OF FIXING PECUNIARY RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE LOSS OF FUNDS AT APO 50. IT IS ALSO CLEAR THAT YOU WERE AFFORDED AN OPPORTUNITY TO EXAMINE ALL EVIDENCE SUBMITTED TO THE BOARDS AND TO PRESENT ANY EVIDENCE YOU HAD TO REFUTE THE FINDINGS OF THE BOARDS. AS TO THE SO-CALLED FACTS, CONTAINED IN YOUR LETTER, WHICH YOU ALLEGE WILL DISPROVE PARTIALLY THE CLAIMED SHORTAGE, YOU MAY BE ADVISED THAT THE RECORDS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY SHOW THAT THE AMOUNT OF THE SHORTAGE WAS DETERMINED AFTER A FINAL AUDIT. UNDER DATE OF DECEMBER 31, 1954, WE RECEIVED A REPORT FROM THE DEPARTMENT REAFFIRMING THE AMOUNT OF THE SHORTAGE. UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES, A FURTHER INVESTIGATION OF THE CASE IN THE LIGHT OF THE STATEMENTS IN YOUR LETTER APPEARS NOT TO BE WARRANTED.

ACCORDINGLY, AND SINCE YOU HAVE MADE NO ATTEMPT TO REPAY THE DEBT IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE REQUEST IN OUR LETTER OF FEBRUARY 16, 1955, THE CASE IS BEING TODAY REFERRED TO THE ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR APPROPRIATE ACTION.