B-129738, DEC. 13, 1956

B-129738: Dec 13, 1956

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LTD.: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 8. WHICH DISALLOWED YOUR CLAIM FOR 428.15.9 POUNDS STERLING FOR VARIOUS SERVICES ALLEGED TO HAVE BEEN FURNISHED THE UNITED STATES EMBASSY IN LONDON. WAS THAT THERE WAS NOTHING IN THE RECORD TO SUBSTANTIATE YOUR CLAIM THAT THE SERVICES ALLEGED TO HAVE BEEN PERFORMED WERE AUTHORIZED OR RECEIVED BY THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT. THAT THE SERVICES WERE FURNISHED. THAT THE FACT THAT VARIOUS ITEMS SHOWN IN YOUR CLAIM HAVE BEEN IGNORED IS DUE TO LACK OF ACTION ON THE PART OF CERTAIN EMBASSY OFFICIALS. THAT HUNDREDS OF RESERVATIONS WERE MADE WEEKLY FOR STATE DEPARTMENT PERSONNEL. OTHER THAN FOR RAIL TRANSPORTATION ON WHICH THE AGENCY'S COMMISSION IS VERY SMALL.

B-129738, DEC. 13, 1956

TO MR. J. W. KEARSLEY, MANAGING DIRECTOR, J. W. KEARSLEY AND CO., LTD.:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 8, 1956, REQUESTING RECONSIDERATION OF OUR SETTLEMENT, PER CLAIM NO. TK529041, DATED JUNE 23, 1955, WHICH DISALLOWED YOUR CLAIM FOR 428.15.9 POUNDS STERLING FOR VARIOUS SERVICES ALLEGED TO HAVE BEEN FURNISHED THE UNITED STATES EMBASSY IN LONDON, ENGLAND, DURING THE PERIOD 1947-1952.

THE BASIS FOR THE DISALLOWANCE, AS SET FORTH IN THE SETTLEMENT, WAS THAT THERE WAS NOTHING IN THE RECORD TO SUBSTANTIATE YOUR CLAIM THAT THE SERVICES ALLEGED TO HAVE BEEN PERFORMED WERE AUTHORIZED OR RECEIVED BY THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT. IN YOUR REQUEST FOR RECONSIDERATION YOU URGE, IN EFFECT, THAT THE SERVICES WERE FURNISHED, AS CLAIMED BY YOU, AND THAT THE FACT THAT VARIOUS ITEMS SHOWN IN YOUR CLAIM HAVE BEEN IGNORED IS DUE TO LACK OF ACTION ON THE PART OF CERTAIN EMBASSY OFFICIALS, IN SPITE OF YOUR REPEATED REQUESTS FOR SETTLEMENT.

THE EMBASSY AT LONDON REPORTS THAT DURING THE PERIOD 1947-1952 THE EMBASSY DID CONSIDERABLE BUSINESS WITH THE TRAVEL AGENCY OF J. W. KEARSLEY AND COMPANY, LTD., FOR ALL TYPES OF TRANSPORTATION--- RAIL, SEA, AND AIR, AND THAT HUNDREDS OF RESERVATIONS WERE MADE WEEKLY FOR STATE DEPARTMENT PERSONNEL, MEMBERS OF UNITED STATES DELEGATIONS, AND FOR THE NUMEROUS AGENCIES FOR WHICH THE EMBASSY PROVIDED ADMINISTRATIVE SUPPORT; THAT LATE IN 1951 THE EMBASSY BEGAN BOOKING TRANSPORTATION DIRECT WITH THE CARRIERS, IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE POLICY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE, AND THAT THE VOLUME OF BUSINESS DONE WITH YOUR AGENCY, THEN DROPPED FROM APPROXIMATELY $100,000 PER ANNUM TO ALMOST NOTHING, OTHER THAN FOR RAIL TRANSPORTATION ON WHICH THE AGENCY'S COMMISSION IS VERY SMALL. THE REPORT SHOWS THAT AS SOON AS THIS DROP IN BUSINESS WAS NOTED BY THE AGENCY IT BEGAN PRESSING FOR PAYMENT OF OUTSTANDING ACCOUNTS WHICH, IT ALLEGED, IT HAD BEEN PRESENTING AT REGULAR INTERVALS FOR SEVERAL YEARS. THE REPORT ALSO CONTAINS THE STATEMENT THAT THE EMBASSY HAS NO RECORD OF SUCH STATEMENTS OR INVOICES AND THAT IT WAS INFORMALLY UNDERSTOOD THAT IN 1950 THE AGENCY AGREED TO WIPE OUT ALL THE OLD CANCELLATION CHARGES AND OTHER CLAIMS WHICH COULD NOT BE IDENTIFIED, IN VIEW OF THE VOLUME OF BUSINESS IT DID WITH THE EMBASSY. THE REPORT SETS FORTH, IN SUBSTANCE, THAT AS A RESULT OF A MEETING IN AUGUST 1953 BETWEEN EMBASSY OFFICERS AND THE OWNER AND DIRECTOR OF THE AGENCY, AN EXHAUSTIVE SEARCH OF ITS RECORDS WAS MADE BY THE EMBASSY AND THE AGENCY WAS INFORMED OF THE RESULTS IN A LETTER DATED FEBRUARY 1, 1954, A COPY ENCLOSED FOR READY REFERENCE, WHICH IS SELF-EXPLANATORY. THE REPORT FURTHER SETS FORTH THAT AT A SUBSEQUENT MEETING BETWEEN THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICER OF THE EMBASSY AND A REPRESENTATIVE OF THE AGENCY THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICER REITERATED THE EMBASSY'S POSITION, AS SET FORTH IN THE REFERRED-TO LETTER OF FEBRUARY 1, 1954. THE REPORT CONCLUDES THAT IN THE COURSE OF ITS RESEARCH ON THIS CLAIM THE EMBASSY CAREFULLY CONSIDERED THE POSSIBILITY OF ANY DISHONESTY ON THE PART OF ITS EMPLOYEES AND IS CONFIDENT THAT NONE EXISTED, AND THAT IT LIKEWISE DOES NOT BELIEVE THAT THE ALLEGED OUTSTANDING AMOUNTS ARE A RESULT OF NEGLIGENCE OR CARELESSNESS IN RECORD KEEPING.

OUR OFFICE HAS NO FIRST-HAND KNOWLEDGE OF THE FACTS AS TO THE SERVICE HERE IN QUESTION AND MUST NECESSARILY RELY ON THE REPORT OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE WITH RESPECT THERETO. IN THE ABSENCE OF EVIDENCE SUFFICIENT TO OVERCOME THE PRESUMPTION OF THE CORRECTNESS THEREOF, IT IS THE RULE OF OUR OFFICE TO ACCEPT THE STATEMENT OF FACTS AS REPORTED BY THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE. IT IS FUNDAMENTAL THAT THOSE ASSERTING A CLAIM AGAINST THE UNITED STATES HAVE THE BURDEN OF ESTABLISHING ITS VALIDITY, AND THE ACCOUNTING OFFICERS OF THE GOVERNMENT ARE NOT AUTHORIZED TO CERTIFY FOR PAYMENT CLAIMS NOT SO ESTABLISHED. YOU HAVE FURNISHED NO DOCUMENTARY EVIDENCE TO OVERCOME THE ADMINISTRATIVE REPORT IN THIS MATTER AND IN VIEW THEREOF WE HAVE NO ALTERNATIVE OTHER THAN TO SUPPORT THE SETTLEMENT DISALLOWING YOUR CLAIM. ACCORDINGLY, ON THE BASIS OF THE PRESENT RECORD, THE SETTLEMENT IS SUSTAINED.