B-163700, MAY 6, 1968

B-163700: May 6, 1968

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YOUR CLAIM WAS DISALLOWED BECAUSE SETTLEMENT FOR THE DWELLING YOU PURCHASED DID NOT TAKE PLACE WITHIN ONE YEAR FROM THE DATE YOU REPORTED TO YOUR NEW DUTY STATION AS PRESCRIBED BY SECTION 4.1D. READS: "THE SETTLEMENT DATES FOR THE SALE AND PURCHASE OR LEASE TERMINATION TRANSACTIONS FOR WHICH REIMBURSEMENT IS REQUESTED ARE NOT LATER THAN ONE YEAR AFTER THE DATE ON WHICH THE EMPLOYEE REPORTED FOR DUTY AT THE NEW OFFICIAL STATION. EXCEPT THAT AN APPROPRIATE EXTENSION OF TIME MAY BE AUTHORIZED BY THE HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT OR HIS DESIGNEE WHEN SETTLEMENT IS NECESSARILY DELAYED BECAUSE OF LITIGATION.'. IT APPEARS THAT THE PURCHASE OF YOUR DWELLING AT YOUR NEW STATION WAS DELAYED BECAUSE OF YOUR INABILITY TO SELL YOUR FORMER HOME AT YOUR OLD STATION.

B-163700, MAY 6, 1968

TO MR. ELLIOT C. SEIDEN:

YOUR LETTER OF FEBRUARY 19, 1968, REQUESTS REVIEW OF OUR SETTLEMENT DATED FEBRUARY 8, 1968, WHICH DISALLOWED YOUR CLAIM FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF EXPENSES INCURRED IN CONNECTION WITH THE PURCHASE OF A DWELLING AT YOUR NEW OFFICIAL STATION UNDER TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION OF AUGUST 22, 1966, AS AN EMPLOYEE OF THE DEFENSE SUPPLY AGENCY. YOUR CLAIM WAS DISALLOWED BECAUSE SETTLEMENT FOR THE DWELLING YOU PURCHASED DID NOT TAKE PLACE WITHIN ONE YEAR FROM THE DATE YOU REPORTED TO YOUR NEW DUTY STATION AS PRESCRIBED BY SECTION 4.1D, BUREAU OF THE BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. A-56, REVISED OCTOBER 12, 1966, WHICH GOVERNS IN THIS MATTER.

SECTION 4.1D, THEREOF, READS:

"THE SETTLEMENT DATES FOR THE SALE AND PURCHASE OR LEASE TERMINATION TRANSACTIONS FOR WHICH REIMBURSEMENT IS REQUESTED ARE NOT LATER THAN ONE YEAR AFTER THE DATE ON WHICH THE EMPLOYEE REPORTED FOR DUTY AT THE NEW OFFICIAL STATION, EXCEPT THAT AN APPROPRIATE EXTENSION OF TIME MAY BE AUTHORIZED BY THE HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT OR HIS DESIGNEE WHEN SETTLEMENT IS NECESSARILY DELAYED BECAUSE OF LITIGATION.'

THE RECORD IN THIS CASE SHOWS THAT YOU REPORTED TO YOUR NEW DUTY STATION ON AUGUST 29, 1966. ON AUGUST 26, 1967, YOU SIGNED A FINAL REAL ESTATE PURCHASE CONTRACT AND MOVED INTO THE NEW DWELLING ON AUGUST 28,1967. YOUR CLAIM SHOWS THE SETTLEMENT DATE OF THE PURCHASE AS SEPTEMBER 17, 1967, WHEREAS THE CLOSING STATEMENT SHOWS THE SETTLEMENT DATE AS SEPTEMBER 19. THE PRESCRIBED ONE-YEAR PERIOD IN YOUR CASE BEGAN AUGUST 29, 1966, AND ENDED AUGUST 28, 1967. THE SETTLEMENT OCCURRED APPROXIMATELY 3 WEEKS IN EXCESS OF SUCH ONE-YEAR PERIOD.

IT APPEARS THAT THE PURCHASE OF YOUR DWELLING AT YOUR NEW STATION WAS DELAYED BECAUSE OF YOUR INABILITY TO SELL YOUR FORMER HOME AT YOUR OLD STATION. YOU SAY THAT YOU ATTEMPTED TO COMPLETE SETTLEMENT FOR THE NEW DWELLING PRIOR TO EXPIRATION OF THE ONE-YEAR PERIOD; ALSO, YOU WERE ADVISED BY ONE OF THE AGENCY OFFICIALS THAT SINCE THE CONTRACT WAS SIGNED WITHIN THE PRESCRIBED ONE-YEAR PERIOD NO DIFFICULTY WAS ENVISIONED IN SECURING REIMBURSEMENT OF THE CLOSING COSTS EVEN THOUGH THE SETTLEMENT DATE MIGHT OCCUR THEREAFTER. YOU POINT OUT THAT THE APPRAISAL TOOK LONGER THAN ANTICIPATED; THAT AN ERROR IN THE APPRAISAL REQUIRED CORRECTION, EXTENDING THE DELAY; THAT THE TITLE SEARCH EXTENDED THE DELAY BECAUSE OF SEVERAL OBJECTIONS FOUND IN THE TITLE TO THE PROPERTY WHICH REQUIRED CLARIFICATION AND FURTHER THAT YOU HAD EXECUTED A BINDING CONTRACT AND HAD OCCUPIED THE PREMISES BEFORE THE EXPIRATION OF THE ONE-YEAR PERIOD.

ALTHOUGH YOU WERE NOT ABLE TO OBTAIN SETTLEMENT ON THE PURCHASE OF YOUR DWELLING UNTIL AFTER EXPIRATION OF THE ONE-YEAR PERIOD BECAUSE OF CIRCUMSTANCES BEYOND YOUR CONTROL, NEVERTHELESS, IN CONSIDERING YOUR CLAIM WE ARE GOVERNED BY THE ABOVE-QUOTED REGULATION. THIS REGULATION WAS ISSUED PURSUANT TO LAW, PUBLIC LAW 89-516, 80 STAT. 323, APPROVED JULY 21, 1966, AND CONSEQUENTLY IS STATUTORY IN NATURE. OUR OFFICE CANNOT WAIVE IT, NOR EXTEND IT.

THE REGULATION PRESCRIBES ONLY ONE EXCEPTION WHEREBY THE DESIGNATED ONE- YEAR PERIOD CAN BE EXTENDED. SUCH EXCEPTION PROVIDES THAT AN APPROPRIATE EXTENSION OF TIME MAY BE AUTHORIZED BY THE HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT OR HIS DESIGNEE WHEN SETTLEMENT IS NECESSARILY DELAYED BECAUSE OF LITIGATION. YOUR CASE THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICIALS HAVE DETERMINED THAT THE SITUATIONS WHICH CAUSED THE SETTLEMENT TO EXCEED THE PRESCRIBED PERIOD DID NOT INVOLVE LITIGATION. WE FIND NO REASON TO DISAGREE WITH THAT DETERMINATION. MOREOVER, WE PERCEIVE NO BASIS UNDER THE REGULATION FOR THE VIEW THAT THE SIGNING OF THE CUSTOMARY AGREEMENT FOR THE PURCHASE OF REAL ESTATE IS TANTAMOUNT TO "SETTLEMENT" AS THAT TERM IS ORDINARILY USED AND UNDERSTOOD. COMPARE B-160799 OF FEBRUARY 28, 1967.

IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, THE DISALLOWANCE OF YOUR CLAIM MUST BE SUSTAINED.

WE NOTE THAT YOUR VOUCHER SUBMITTED HERE INCLUDES THE SUM OF $116.56, REPRESENTING EXPENSES INCURRED BY YOU IN THE SALE OF YOUR DWELLING AT YOUR OLD STATION, COMPRISED OF $73.31, ADVERTISING EXPENSE, $35.00, ASSUMPTION DEED AND CLOSING FEE AND $8.25, REVENUE STAMPS. THE CLOSING -- SETTLEMENT -- DATE THEREON IS SHOWN AS JUNE 30, 1967. IF YOU HAVE NOT RECEIVED A SETTLEMENT FOR THESE ITEMS PLEASE ADVISE US IN ORDER THAT FURTHER CONSIDERATION MAY BE GIVEN THERETO.

WITH RESPECT TO YOUR REQUEST TO BE FURNISHED COPIES OF OUR EIGHTY SIX (86) DECISIONS IN THIS AREA YOU MAY BE ADVISED THAT WE HAVE ONLY TWO DECISIONS CONCERNING THE ONE-YEAR PERIOD HERE IN QUESTION, NAMELY, B- 160799, FEBRUARY 28, 1967, PREVIOUSLY REFERRED TO, AND B-162802, NOVEMBER 20, 1967, COPIES OF WHICH ARE ENCLOSED. WE DO NOT REGARD SUCH DECISIONS AS APPLICABLE TO YOUR SITUATION.

OUR DECISIONS ARE FINAL AND CONCLUSIVE ON THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH OF THE GOVERNMENT. IF YOU CARE TO PURSUE THE MATTER IN THE COURTS SEE 28 U.S.C. 1346 AND 1491 PERTAINING TO MATTERS COGNIZABLE IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURTS AND THE UNITED STATES COURT OF CLAIMS.