B-141860, MAR. 2, 1960

B-141860: Mar 2, 1960

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THE FACTS AND CIRCUMSTANCES SET FORTH IN YOUR LETTER AND THE ATTACHED EXHIBITS ARE SUMMARIZED BELOW. YOUR QUESTIONS ESSENTIALLY ARE WHETHER MR. ANGRISANI IS INDEBTED TO THE GOVERNMENT BY REASON OF THE MANNER IN WHICH HE CLAIMED TRAVEL EXPENSES. WAS TRYING TO DECIDE WHETHER I SHOULD GET ANOTHER CAR OR A NEW SPEEDOMETER. I WAS ADVISED TO USE THE A.A.A. ARE NOT NOW QUESTIONED ADMINISTRATIVELY. SUCH DISTANCES APPARENTLY HAVING BEEN REASONABLY WELL VERIFIED OR WERE OTHERWISE FOUND TO BE IN ORDER FOR PAYMENT AT THE AUTHORIZED MILEAGE RATE. SOME OF THE TRAVEL WAS OF A REPETITIOUS NATURE. WE POINTED OUT THAT ACTUAL METER READINGS OF AUTOMOBILE TRAVEL ARE MERELY PRIMAFACIS EVIDENCE OF SUCH MILEAGE.

B-141860, MAR. 2, 1960

TO MR. LESTER H. THOMPSON, FEDERAL HOUSING ADMINISTRATION:

YOUR LETTER OF JANUARY 28, 1960, REQUESTS OUR DECISION WHETHER YOU MAY CERTIFY FOR PAYMENT THE ENCLOSED BUREAU SCHEDULE NO. 412 (BUREAU VOUCHER NO. 225) IN THE GROSS AMOUNT OF $668.87, IN FAVOR OF ALBERT L. ANGRISANI, REPRESENTING LUMP-SUM PAYMENT FOR 211 HOURS ANNUAL LEAVE DUE HIM UPON HIS REMOVAL FROM SERVICE JANUARY 6, 1960. THE FACTS AND CIRCUMSTANCES SET FORTH IN YOUR LETTER AND THE ATTACHED EXHIBITS ARE SUMMARIZED BELOW.

YOUR QUESTIONS ESSENTIALLY ARE WHETHER MR. ANGRISANI IS INDEBTED TO THE GOVERNMENT BY REASON OF THE MANNER IN WHICH HE CLAIMED TRAVEL EXPENSES, AND WHETHER AN AMOUNT OF PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE NOT HERETOFORE CLAIMED ON MR. ANGRISANI'S MONTHLY TRAVEL VOUCHERS MAY BE APPLIED AS AN OFFSET TO ANY SUCH INDEBTEDNESS.

IT APPEARS THAT ON OR ABOUT NOVEMBER 13, 1956, THE SPEEDOMETER ON MR. ANGRISANI'S AUTOMOBILE BECAME DEFECTIVE AND COULD NOT BE REPAIRED. LETTER DATED FEBRUARY 24, 1959, TO YOU, MR. ANGRISANI DESCRIBES HIS EFFORTS TO REPLACE THE DEFECTIVE SPEEDOMETER AND SAYS "I HAD A PROBLEM AT THIS TIME WITH MY DECLARED METER READINGS ON MY TRAVEL VOUCHER, AND WAS TRYING TO DECIDE WHETHER I SHOULD GET ANOTHER CAR OR A NEW SPEEDOMETER. IN THE MEANTIME I ESTIMATED THE MILEAGE I COVERED FROM THE A.A.A. CLUB INFORMATION REGARDING DISTANCES. I WAS ADVISED TO USE THE A.A.A. BOOK ENTITLED "MEMBERS GUIDE TO NEW YORK CITY AND VICINITY" WHICH I AM SUBMITTING TO YOU. I DO NOT OWN A RAND MCNALLY HIGHWAY MILEAGE GUIDE.' THUS, DURING THE PERIOD FROM NOVEMBER 13, 1956 TO DECEMBER 31, 1958, IT APPEARS THAT MR. ANGRISANI REPORTED AND CLAIMED ON HIS TRAVEL VOUCHERS A TOTAL OF 6,743 MILES OF "IN AND AROUND" OR VICINITY TRAVEL AT HIS HEADQUARTERS AND VARIOUS POINTS IN HIS TERRITORY FOR WHICH HE RECEIVED PAYMENT AT THE RATE OF 8 CENTS PER MILE, OR A TOTAL OF $539.44. APPARENTLY, HIS CLAIMS OF TRAVEL FROM POINT TO POINT, AND BETWEEN TOWNS OR CITIES, ARE NOT NOW QUESTIONED ADMINISTRATIVELY, SUCH DISTANCES APPARENTLY HAVING BEEN REASONABLY WELL VERIFIED OR WERE OTHERWISE FOUND TO BE IN ORDER FOR PAYMENT AT THE AUTHORIZED MILEAGE RATE. HOWEVER, YOU SAY, THE PAID "IN AND AROUND" MILEAGE CANNOT BE VERIFIED. THE STATEMENT BY MR. ANGRISANI DATED MARCH 26, 1959, AND OTHER REPORTS IN THE FILE (EXHIBIT NO. 5), ENDEAVORING TO RECONSTRUCT THE DISTANCES HE ACTUALLY TRAVELED DURING CERTAIN PARTS OF THE PERIODS IN QUESTION, DO NOT CLARIFY THE "IN AND AROUND" MILES CLAIMED. ON THE OTHER HAND, IT MAY BE THAT SUCH RECORD- - SEE THE COMPLIANCE DIVISION, REPORT OF INVESTIGATION DATED APRIL 24, 1959 PAGES 4 TO 7--- RESOLVES THE DOUBTS IN FAVOR OF MR. ANGRISANI'S MILEAGE CLAIMS. ALSO, SOME OF THE TRAVEL WAS OF A REPETITIOUS NATURE.

THE ENCLOSED EXHIBITS DISCLOSE THAT MR. ANGRISANI DID NOT REPORT HIS TRAVEL IN ALL INSTANCES IN ACCORDANCE WITH PARAGRAPH 3.5B (1) OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS AND THE FEDERAL HOUSING ADMINISTRATION TRAVEL HANDBOOK. HOWEVER, IN SOMEWHAT SIMILAR CASES OF "IN AND AROUND" TRAVEL ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS OF THE FEDERAL HOUSING ADMINISTRATION (SEE OUR DECISIONS TO YOU OF JANUARY 28, 1958, B 134616, IN THE CASES OF W. H. AKARD AND J. A. NEREDITH, AND OF JUNE 16, 1955, B- 123699, IN THE CASE OF J. C. HODGES), WE POINTED OUT THAT ACTUAL METER READINGS OF AUTOMOBILE TRAVEL ARE MERELY PRIMAFACIS EVIDENCE OF SUCH MILEAGE, SUBJECT TO VERIFICATION BY STANDARD MILEAGE TABLES OR GUIDES AS TO THE REASONABLENESS THEREOF; THAT, WHEN A TRAVELER'S SPEEDOMETER (OR ODOMETER) IS INOPERATIVE, TRAVEL IN AND AROUND VARIOUS LOCATIONS WHICH IS NOT POSSIBLE OF ASCERTAINMENT BY CONSULTING HIGHWAY MAPS OR GUIDES MAY BE ESTABLISHED BY THE BEST EVIDENCE AVAILABLE. 26 COMP. GEN. 770; 30 ID. 151; ALSO, SEE 24 ID. 168. AS NOTED ABOVE, MR. ANGRISANI'S TRAVEL WAS INVESTIGATED ADMINISTRATIVELY ON A SAMPLE BASIS IN THE LIGHT OF RECORDS OF WORK AND OFFICIAL TRAVEL ACTUALLY PERFORMED AND THE REPORTS REVEALED SOME ELEMENTS OF FACT IN HIS FAVOR, WHICH SUGGEST THAT A FULL INVESTIGATION AND DETAILED ANALYSIS OF DUTIES HE PERFORMED ON A DAY TO DAY BASIS MIGHT REVEAL FURTHER SUBSTANTIAL TRAVEL FROM POINT TO POINT NOT HERETOFORE CLAIMED BY HIM. ON THE RECORD IT IS POSSIBLE THAT SUCH ELEMENTS WOULD OFFSET ANY POSSIBLE OVERCLAIMS BY HIM OF IN AND AROUND TRAVEL. MOREOVER, THE RECORD DOES NOT ESTABLISH THAT MR. ANGRISANI CLAIMED SUCH MILEAGE WITH AN INTENT TO DEFRAUD THE GOVERNMENT.

IN LIGHT OF THE FOREGOING COMMENTS, AND OF YOUR ANALYSIS OF THE TRAVEL VOUCHERS REVEALING SOME PROBABLY COMPENSATING UNDERCLAIMS OF PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE, OUR VIEW IS THAT THE SUBMITTED VOUCHER PROPERLY MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT, IF OTHERWISE CORRECT. YOUR SPECIFIC QUESTIONS ARE ANSWERED ACCORDINGLY.