B-130692, JUN. 24, 1957

B-130692: Jun 24, 1957

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LA RAIA: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER DATED JANUARY 10. WHICH DISALLOWED YOUR CLAIM FOR PAYMENT OF THE SUM OF $157.64 WHICH WAS WITHHELD ON VOUCHER NO. 2097. THE RECORDS INDICATE THAT YOU WERE INDEBTED TO THE UNITED STATES IN THE AMOUNT OF $157.64. WHICH AMOUNT WAS WITHHELD FROM YOUR FINAL PAYMENT. THE RECORDS AVAILABLE TO US DO NOT SHOW THAT ANY ACTION WAS TAKEN BY YOU IN THE MATTER UNTIL APRIL 26. STATING THAT "REFUND IS NOT CERTAIN" AND REQUESTING THAT A SEARCH OF THE RECORDS BE MADE TO DETERMINE WHETHER OR NOT YOU WERE RELIEVED OF THE RESPONSIBILITY AND REFUND HAD BEEN MADE. YOUR LETTER WAS REFERRED TO US FOR REPLY AND IN OUR LETTER DATED MAY 25. YOU WERE ADVISED THAT THE AMOUNT OF $157.64 WAS SHOWN IN THE ACCOUNTS OF A.

B-130692, JUN. 24, 1957

TO LIEUTENANT COLONEL HENRY X. LA RAIA:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER DATED JANUARY 10, 1957, IN EFFECT REQUESTING A REVIEW OF OUR SETTLEMENT DATED DECEMBER 27, 1956, WHICH DISALLOWED YOUR CLAIM FOR PAYMENT OF THE SUM OF $157.64 WHICH WAS WITHHELD ON VOUCHER NO. 2097, OCTOBER 1939, ACCOUNTS OF A. J. MAXWELL, F.D., U.S.A., BROOKLYN, NEW YORK. IT APPEARS FROM AN EXAMINATION OF THAT VOUCHER AND THE SUPPORTING PAPERS THAT AS OF SEPTEMBER 24, 1939, THE DATE OF YOUR RELEASE FROM ACTIVE DUTY WITH THE CIVILIAN CONSERVATION CORPS, THE RECORDS INDICATE THAT YOU WERE INDEBTED TO THE UNITED STATES IN THE AMOUNT OF $157.64, WHICH AMOUNT WAS WITHHELD FROM YOUR FINAL PAYMENT, PENDING FINAL ACTION ON THE SEVEN REPORTS OF SURVEY INVOLVED, AND PLACED IN THE SPECIAL DEPOSIT ACCOUNT OF A. J. MAXWELL.

THE RECORDS AVAILABLE TO US DO NOT SHOW THAT ANY ACTION WAS TAKEN BY YOU IN THE MATTER UNTIL APRIL 26, 1956, WHEN YOU WROTE TO THE FINANCE OFFICER, U.S. ARMY, 58TH STREET AND 1ST AVENUE, BROOKLYN, NEW YORK, WITH REFERENCE TO SUCH DEDUCTION, STATING THAT "REFUND IS NOT CERTAIN" AND REQUESTING THAT A SEARCH OF THE RECORDS BE MADE TO DETERMINE WHETHER OR NOT YOU WERE RELIEVED OF THE RESPONSIBILITY AND REFUND HAD BEEN MADE. YOUR LETTER WAS REFERRED TO US FOR REPLY AND IN OUR LETTER DATED MAY 25, 1956, YOU WERE ADVISED THAT THE AMOUNT OF $157.64 WAS SHOWN IN THE ACCOUNTS OF A. J. MAXWELL FOR DECEMBER 1939 AS A CREDIT TO SPECIAL DEPOSITS; THAT ALL SCHEDULES OF TRANSFER AND REFUNDS (FORM 1046) AND SCHEDULES OF DISBURSEMENTS (FORM 1024) FROM SPECIAL DEPOSITS FOR THE PERIOD FROM SEPTEMBER 1, 1939, TO AUGUST 12, 1942 (THE DATE OF THE FINAL ACCOUNT OF A. J. MAXWELL AT BROOKLYN, NEW YORK), HAD BEEN SEARCHED AND NO RECORD OF A REFUND TO YOU COULD BE FOUND; AND THAT A BALANCE OF $4,416.26 WAS TRANSFERRED FROM SPECIAL DEPOSIT TO C. B. LENOW (THE SUCCESSOR OF A. J. MAXWELL). IN 1ST INDORSEMENT DATED JULY 16, 1956, AUDIT AND RECORDS OPERATIONS, FINANCE CENTER, U.S. ARMY, ADVISED YOU THAT AN EXAMINATION OF THE ACCOUNTS OF C. B. LENOW FROM JULY 1, 1942, THROUGH JULY 31, 1943, SHOWED NO RECORD OF A REFUND OF $157.64 TO YOU. THEREAFTER, YOU SUBMITTED, THROUGH CHANNELS, A CLAIM FOR THE SUM OF $157.64, ATTACHING TO THE CLAIM OUR LETTER DATED MAY 25, 1956, AND THE 1ST INDORSEMENT OF AUDIT AND RECORDS OPERATIONS, FINANCE CENTER, U.S. ARMY, DATED JULY 16, 1956. THE SPECIAL CLAIMS SECTION, SETTLEMENTS OPERATIONS, FINANCE CENTER, U.S. ARMY, BY LETTER OF TRANSMITTAL DATED SEPTEMBER 17, 1956, FORWARDED THE CLAIM TO US FOR APPROPRIATE ACTION AND IT WAS DISALLOWED BY OUR SETTLEMENT DATED DECEMBER 27, 1956. IN THAT SETTLEMENT YOU WERE ADVISED THAT WHILE AN EXAMINATION OF THE OFFICIAL RECORDS FAILED TO REVEAL THAT THE AMOUNT IN QUESTION HAD BEEN REFUNDED TO YOU, IT ALSO FAILED TO REVEAL THAT THE CHARGE AGAINST YOU WHICH RESULTED IN THE CHECK AGE AGAINST YOUR PAY ACCOUNT HAD BEEN REMOVED AND THAT, ACCORDINGLY, THERE WAS NO AUTHORITY FOR THE PAYMENT OF YOUR CLAIM.

IN YOUR LETTER DATED JANUARY 10, 1957, YOU SAY THAT THE OFFICIAL RECORDS WHICH YOU ACCUMULATED ,FROM ALL FINANCE OFFICERS CONCERNED" AND FORWARDED IN SUPPORT OF YOUR CLAIM SHOWED THAT YOU DID NOT GET A REFUND AND THAT,"UNDER SPECIAL DEPOSIT FUNDS," THE PAY IS AVAILABLE FOR REFUND PENDING FINAL ACTION ON THE REPORTS OF SURVEY. YOU SAY ALSO THAT YOUR RECORDS DO NOT SHOW WHAT FINAL ACTION WAS TAKEN ON THE REPORTS OF SURVEY AND THAT IT IS YOUR OPINION THAT OUR OFFICE SHOULD HAVE MADE A MORE THOROUGH INVESTIGATION OF THAT PHASE OF THE MATTER.

AFTER THE RECEIPT OF YOUR LETTER DATED JANUARY 10, 1957, WE REQUESTED AND OBTAINED AN ADDITIONAL REPORT IN YOUR CASE FROM THE CHIEF OF FINANCE, DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY. IT APPEARS FROM THAT REPORT THAT TWO OF THE REPORTS OF SURVEY INVOLVED IN YOUR CASE WERE CANCELED; THAT THE BALANCE OF THE SURVEYS INVOLVED WERE APPROVED TO RELIEVE YOU; AND THAT THE CHIEF OF FINANCE, BY 8TH INDORSEMENT DATED MARCH 6, 1940, AUTHORIZED THE FINANCE OFFICER, U.S. ARMY, BROOKLYN, NEW YORK, TO REFUND THE SUM OF $157.64 TO YOU. IT IS INDICATED IN THE REPORT, HOWEVER, THAT RECORDS PERTAINING TO THE REPORTS OF SURVEY AND VARIOUS OTHER RECORDS WHICH MIGHT HAVE A BEARING ON YOUR CASE HAVE BEEN DESTROYED ON ACCOUNT OF THEIR AGE--- AS AUTHORIZED BY LAW--- AND THAT FROM THE RECORDS NOW AVAILABLE IT CANNOT BE DEFINITELY DETERMINED WHETHER OR NOT THE SUM OF $157.64 WAS REFUNDED TO YOU. FURTHERMORE, A REPORT FROM THE ARMY AUDIT BRANCH OF OUR DEFENSE ACCOUNTING AND AUDITING DIVISION IS TO THE EFFECT THAT THE CAPITAL PAPERS FOR THE ACCOUNT INVOLVED, WITH THE EXCEPTION OF THE SCHEDULES OF DISBURSEMENT, HAVE BEEN DESTROYED THROUGH JUNE 30, 1943, AND IT IS NOT POSSIBLE TO TRACE THE ACTIVITY IN THE SPECIAL DEPOSIT ACCOUNT AS SUCH. IN VIEW OF STATEMENT IN YOUR LETTER DATED APRIL 26, 1956, THAT "REFUND IS NOT CERTAIN," IT APPEARS THAT YOU MAY HAVE RECEIVED THE SUM OF $157.64 AND FORGOTTEN THE TRANSACTION.

THE ACCOUNTING OFFICERS OF THE GOVERNMENT, IN THE ABSENCE OF CLEAR AND SATISFACTORY EVIDENCE OF THE VALIDITY OF NONPAYMENT OF A CLAIM, HAVE CONSISTENTLY REFUSED TO ALLOW A CLAIM WHERE THE CLAIMANT HAS SLEPT ON HIS RIGHTS FOR A LONG PERIOD OF YEARS. SEE 4 COMP. DEC. 276; 5 COMP. DEC. 282, 285; AND 4 COMP. GEN. 805. INASMUCH AS YOU FAILED TO PRESENT YOUR CLAIM FOR APPROXIMATELY 16 YEARS, DURING WHICH PERIOD THE RECORDS NECESSARY EITHER TO JUSTIFY OR REFUTE YOUR CLAIM HAVE BEEN DESTROYED PURSUANT TO LAW, OR OTHERWISE HAVE BECOME UNAVAILABLE, THERE IS NO ALTERNATIVE BUT TO SUSTAIN THE DISALLOWANCE OF YOUR CLAIM.