B-124538, FEB. 23, 1956

B-124538: Feb 23, 1956

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TO BALTIMORE AND OHIO RAILROAD COMPANY: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF DECEMBER 27. THE RECORD INDICATES THAT YOUR SUPPLEMENTAL BILL NO. 11642-A-41 WAS FIRST RECEIVED IN THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE ON SEPTEMBER 21. THE BILL WAS SUPPORTED BY A COPY OF YOUR COMPANY'S BILL NO. 2164. THE SUPPLEMENTAL BILL WAS NOT ADMINISTRATIVELY APPROVED. NOR CERTIFIED TO INDICATE THAT THE LOADING CHARGES CLAIMED WERE A PROPER CHARGE AGAINST THE WAR DEPARTMENT. THERE WAS INCLUDED A COPY OF LETTER FROM THE OFFICE OF THE CHIEF OF TRANSPORTATION. REPEATED EFFORTS WERE MADE TO SECURE ADMINISTRATIVE APPROVAL OF THE CHARGES CLAIMED. WE WERE ADVISED THAT ARMY DISBURSING RECORDS PRIOR TO SEPTEMBER 1942 WERE DESTROYED PURSUANT TO COMPETENT AUTHORITY IN 1948.

B-124538, FEB. 23, 1956

TO BALTIMORE AND OHIO RAILROAD COMPANY:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF DECEMBER 27, 1955, FILE U.S. GOVT., 11642 (1941) MCS., REQUESTING A REVIEW OF THE SETTLEMENT WHICH DISALLOWED $26.29 CLAIMED ON YOUR SUPPLEMENTAL BILL NO. 11642-A-41 FOR LABOR ALLEGEDLY PERFORMED IN LOADING TWO CARLOADS OF RUBBER IN CASES, EX S/S MEMPHIS CITY, AT LOCUST POINT, MARYLAND, IN JULY 1941.

THE RECORD INDICATES THAT YOUR SUPPLEMENTAL BILL NO. 11642-A-41 WAS FIRST RECEIVED IN THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE ON SEPTEMBER 21, 1949. THE BILL WAS SUPPORTED BY A COPY OF YOUR COMPANY'S BILL NO. 2164, DATED AUGUST 8, 1941, ADDRESSED TO THE COMMODITY CREDIT CORP., CURTIS BAY ORDNANCE DEPOT, CURTIS BAY, MARYLAND. THESE BILLS INDICATE THAT LABOR CHARGES CLAIMED THEREON ACCRUED IN CONNECTION WITH CARS B AND O-83780 AND B AND O-270160, BOTH LOADED WITH CRUDE RUBBER IN CASES, EX S/S) MEMPHIS CITY WHICH MOVED FROM LOCUST POINT, MARYLAND, TO CURTIS BAY, MARYLAND, ON GOVERNMENT BILL OF LADING NO. WQ-3265411, DATED JUNE 9, 1941. WHEN RECEIVED HERE, THE SUPPLEMENTAL BILL WAS NOT ADMINISTRATIVELY APPROVED, NOR CERTIFIED TO INDICATE THAT THE LOADING CHARGES CLAIMED WERE A PROPER CHARGE AGAINST THE WAR DEPARTMENT, BUT THERE WAS INCLUDED A COPY OF LETTER FROM THE OFFICE OF THE CHIEF OF TRANSPORTATION, WAR DEPARTMENT, DATED JUNE 21, 1949, IN REPLY TO YOUR LETTER DATED JUNE 8, 1949, EXPLAINING THAT THE CERTIFICATION COULD NOT BE SUPPLIED WITHOUT A COPY OF THE BILL OF LADING AND A PHOTOSTAT OF CHECK NO. 1585 INDICATING ARMY RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE LABOR CHARGES CLAIMED. REPEATED EFFORTS WERE MADE TO SECURE ADMINISTRATIVE APPROVAL OF THE CHARGES CLAIMED, BUT WE WERE ADVISED THAT ARMY DISBURSING RECORDS PRIOR TO SEPTEMBER 1942 WERE DESTROYED PURSUANT TO COMPETENT AUTHORITY IN 1948, PRIOR TO THE DATE WHEN YOUR SUPPLEMENTAL BILL WAS FIRST PRESENTED TO THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE FOR CONSIDERATION. YOUR FILE WILL NO DOUBT REFLECT SEVERAL INSTANCES IN WHICH UNSUCCESSFUL ATTEMPTS WERE MADE TO SECURE ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ABOUT THE TRANSACTION OUT OF WHICH THESE CHARGES ARE SAID TO HAVE ACCRUED. THE SUPPLEMENTAL BILL STILL REMAINS UNCERTIFIED.

THE RECORD DOES NOT DISCLOSE ANY SATISFACTORY EXPLANATION FOR THE DELAY WHICH OCCURRED BETWEEN THE SUMMER OF 1941, WHEN THE LABOR CHARGES ARE SAID TO HAVE ACCRUED AND LATE IN 1949, WHEN THE MATTER WAS FIRST SUBMITTED TO OUR OFFICE. WHEN SUBMITTED HERE, AS SUBSEQUENTLY DETERMINED, ADMINISTRATIVE RECORDS OF THE TRANSACTION HAD ALREADY BEEN DESTROYED, MAKING IT IMPOSSIBLE FOR THE GOVERNMENT TO DETERMINE (A) WHETHER THE LOADING CHARGES CONSTITUTED A PROPER CLAIM AGAINST THE UNITED STATES, (B) THE AUTHORITY FOR THE PERFORMANCE OF SUCH SERVICE, (C) THE APPROPRIATION FROM WHICH THE CHARGES SHOULD BE PAID, (D) THE PAYMENT RECORD WITH RESPECT TO THE LINE-HAUL CHARGES FROM LOCUST POINT TO CURTIS BAY, MARYLAND, AND (E) ANY PRIOR PAYMENT THAT MAY HAVE ALREADY BEEN MADE COVERING THE LOADING CHARGES SUCH AS, FOR EXAMPLE, AN ARRANGEMENT FOR THE PAYMENT OF ALL SUCH MISCELLANEOUS PORT CHARGES BY A LOCAL DISBURSING OFFICER STATIONED AT THE SITE. THE FAILURE TO PRESENT A PROPERLY CERTIFIED BILL FOR THE CHARGES WHICH ALLEGEDLY ACCRUED IN JUNE OR JULY 1941 UNTIL 1949, OR MORE THAN SEVEN YEARS AFTER THE SERVICES WERE PERFORMED, PRECLUDES ANY FAVORABLE ACTION NOW ON YOUR CLAIM.

IT IS TRUE, AS ASSERTED IN YOUR LETTER OF DECEMBER 27, 1955, THAT THE CLAIM WAS RECEIVED HERE WITHIN THE 10-YEAR PERIOD FOLLOWING THE ALLEGED PERFORMANCE OF THE SERVICES, AS REQUIRED BY THE ACT OF OCTOBER 9, 1940, 54 STAT. 1061, 31 U.S.C. 71A (1952), BUT WHEN RECEIVED, THE ADMINISTRATIVE RECORDS OF THE ALLEGED SERVICES ALREADY HAD BEEN DESTROYED MAKING IT IMPOSSIBLE TO SECURE THE REQUIRED ADMINISTRATIVE CERTIFICATION OF YOUR SUPPLEMENTAL BILL. THE DELAY IN PRESENTING YOUR BILL PERMITTED A SITUATION TO ARISE WHICH THE MERE PRESENTATION OF THE BILL WITHIN THE STATUTORY PERIOD COULD NOT AND DID NOT CURE.

IN VIEW OF THE CIRCUMSTANCES DISCUSSED ABOVE, THE DISALLOWANCE OF YOUR CLAIM BY OUR TRANSPORTATION DIVISION WAS PROPER, AND IS SUSTAINED.