B-153881, MAY 20, 1964

B-153881: May 20, 1964

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CROSLIN: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 23. WHICH DISALLOWED YOUR CLAIM FOR REFUND OF THE SUM WITHHELD FROM YOUR ARMY PAY TO LIQUIDATE THE CHARGE RAISED AGAINST YOU ON A REPORT OF SURVEY ON ACCOUNT OF DAMAGES TO A GOVERNMENT- OWNED VEHICLE RESULTING FROM YOUR NEGLIGENCE WHILE YOU WERE SERVING IN GERMANY AS A MEMBER OF HEADQUARTERS AND HEADQUARTERS DETACHMENT. YOU STATED IN YOUR CLAIM THAT WHILE YOU WERE SERVING IN THE ARMY IN 1950 OR 1951 YOU HAD A WRECK IN A GOVERNMENT-OWNED TRUCK AND THAT ALTHOUGH YOU WERE GIVEN A SPECIAL COURT-MARTIAL AND CLEARED OF ALL CHARGES. YOUR PAY WAS WITHHELD IN THE AMOUNT OF A LITTLE OVER $600. IN THE REPORT OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY ON YOUR CLAIM IT WAS SET FORTH THAT ACTION WAS TAKEN ON REPORT OF SURVEY NO.

B-153881, MAY 20, 1964

TO MR. CECIL C. CROSLIN:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 23, 1964, REQUESTING REVIEW OF OUR SETTLEMENT OF MARCH 13, 1964, WHICH DISALLOWED YOUR CLAIM FOR REFUND OF THE SUM WITHHELD FROM YOUR ARMY PAY TO LIQUIDATE THE CHARGE RAISED AGAINST YOU ON A REPORT OF SURVEY ON ACCOUNT OF DAMAGES TO A GOVERNMENT- OWNED VEHICLE RESULTING FROM YOUR NEGLIGENCE WHILE YOU WERE SERVING IN GERMANY AS A MEMBER OF HEADQUARTERS AND HEADQUARTERS DETACHMENT, 223 QUARTERMASTER BATTALION.

YOU STATED IN YOUR CLAIM THAT WHILE YOU WERE SERVING IN THE ARMY IN 1950 OR 1951 YOU HAD A WRECK IN A GOVERNMENT-OWNED TRUCK AND THAT ALTHOUGH YOU WERE GIVEN A SPECIAL COURT-MARTIAL AND CLEARED OF ALL CHARGES, YOUR PAY WAS WITHHELD IN THE AMOUNT OF A LITTLE OVER $600. IN THE REPORT OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY ON YOUR CLAIM IT WAS SET FORTH THAT ACTION WAS TAKEN ON REPORT OF SURVEY NO. EUCOM 3293-50 (4 604), DATED JUNE 7, 1950, TO HOLD YOU PECUNIARILY LIABLE IN THE AMOUNT OF $583.55 FOR THE DAMAGES TO THE GOVERNMENT-OWNED VEHICLE; THAT REPORT OF SURVEY FILESARE DESTROYED AFTER 10 YEARS; AND THAT THERE ARE NO RECORDS SHOWING THAT YOU WERE GIVEN A COURT-MARTIAL IN 1950 OR 1951.

OUR OFFICE, ON THE BASIS OF SUCH REPORT, DISALLOWED YOUR CLAIM ON THE GROUND THAT ITS VALIDITY HAD NOT BEEN ESTABLISHED. IN YOUR REQUEST FOR REVIEW OF THAT DISALLOWANCE, YOU SAY THAT THE DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY HAS NOT FURNISHED ALL THE INFORMATION; THAT IN A LETTER DATED JANUARY 6, 1964, TO YOU FROM THE FINANCE CENTER, U.S. ARMY, IT WAS REPORTED THAT THE SUM OF $619.89 (NOT $583.55) WAS WITHHELD FROM YOUR PAY; AND THAT, SINCE YOU WERE THE PERSON WHO WAS GIVEN THE COURT MARTIAL, YOU SHOULD KNOW WHETHER YOU GET ONE OR NOT. YOU INDICATE THAT IF WE FIND NO BASIS FOR FAVORABLE CONSIDERATIONS OF YOUR CLAIM YOU WOULD LIKE FOR US TO SEND YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 23, 1964, TO THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.

YOU ARE ADVISED THAT WE DO NOT MAINTAIN SERVICE RECORDS OF ENLISTED MEMBERS OF THE ARMY AND THAT, WHILE IN THE PROCESSING OF ANY CLAIM INVOLVING SERVICE IN THE ARMY WE ENDEAVOR TO LOCATE ALL OFFICIAL RECORDS AVAILABLE TO US WHICH WOULD BE PERTINENT TO A PROPER DETERMINATION OF THE RIGHTS OF THE CLAIMANT, WE OTHERWISE MUST ACCEPT FOR CLAIMS SETTLEMENT PURPOSES THE OFFICIAL REPORTS RECEIVED FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY. IN ORDER TO CLARIFY THE MATTER OF DEDUCTIONS FROM YOUR PAY IN CONNECTION WITH THE MATTER HERE INVOLVED, WE HAVE OBTAINED PHOTOCOPIES OF YOUR MILITARY PAY RECORD CARDS. CHECK AGES TOTALING $619.89 FOR "GOVERNMENT PROPERTY LOST OR DAMAGED" (REPORT OF SURVEY NO. 4-604) ARE INCLUDED IN THE DEBIT ITEMS (CHARGES) SHOWN ON THOSE PAY RECORDS AS OLLOWS: $104.94 AND $309.95 ON THE PAY RECORD CLOSED DECEMBER 31, 1950, AND $205 ON THE PAY RECORD CLOSED JUNE 30, 1951. THE PAY RECORD CLOSED JUNE 30, 1951, HOWEVER, ALSO SHOWS THAT AN ,ADJUSTMENT ITEM" OF $36.34 WAS CREDITED TO YOUR ACCOUNT FOR THE PURPOSE OF REDUCING THE TOTAL OF SUCH CHECK AGES FROM $619.89 TO $583.55. THUS, IT APPEARS THAT ONLY THE SUM OF $583.55 WAS WITHHELD FROM YOUR PAY TO LIQUIDATE THE CHARGE RAISED AGAINST YOU ON THE REPORT OF SURVEY. IN THIS CONNECTION, IT MAY BE STATED THAT, OTHER THAN THE COPIES OF YOUR MILITARY PAY RECORD CARDS, WE HAVE NOT BEEN ABLE TO LOCATE ANY DOCUMENTS WHICH MIGHT BE CONSIDERED PERTINENT TO YOUR CLAIM.

IN THE ABSENCE OF CLEAR AND SATISFACTORY EVIDENCE OF THE VALIDITY AND NONPAYMENT OF A CLAIM, OUR OFFICE HAS CONSISTENTLY REFUSED TO ALLOW A CLAIM WHERE THE CLAIMANT HAS SLEPT ON HIS RIGHTS FOR A LONG PERIOD OF YEARS. SINCE YOU FAILED TO PRESENT YOUR CLAIM FOR APPROXIMATELY 12 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.

SECTION 305 OF THE BUDGET AND ACCOUNTING ACT, 1921, CH. 18, 42 STAT. 24, 31 U.S.C. 71, PROVIDES THAT ALL CLAIMS AND DEMANDS WHATEVER AGAINST THE GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED STATES SHALL BE SETTLED IN THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE. IN VIEW OF SUCH PROVISIONS OF LAW, WE CONSIDER THAT THE FORWARDING OF YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 23, 1964, TO THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES WOULD SERVE NO USEFUL PURPOSE.