B-169621, JUN. 25, 1970

B-169621: Jun 25, 1970

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Edda Emmanuelli Perez
(202) 512-2853
EmmanuelliPerezE@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

EDDY: FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER DATED APRIL 20. LAIRD HAS REQUESTED PAYMENT OF THE AMOUNT ON THE BASIS THAT SINCE HE WAS PURCHASING A HOME DIRECTLY FROM AN OWNER WHO HAD HELD POSSESSION OF THE PROPERTY FOR ONLY THREE MONTHS AND SINCE HE WAS INEXPERIENCED IN SUCH MATTERS. A BROKER'S FEE OR REAL ESTATE COMMISSION PAID BY THE EMPLOYEE FOR SERVICES IN SELLING HIS RESIDENCE IS REIMBURSABLE *** . NO SUCH FEE OR COMMISSION IS REIMBURSABLE IN CONNECTION WITH THE PURCHASE OF A HOME AT THE NEW OFFICIAL STATION. TO THE EXTENT SUCH COSTS HAVE NOT BEEN INCLUDED IN BROKERS' OR SIMILAR SERVICES *** THE FOLLOWING EXPENSES ARE REIMBURSABLE WITH RESPECT TO THE SALE AND PURCHASE OF RESIDENCES *** .

B-169621, JUN. 25, 1970

TO MR. HENRY C. EDDY:

FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER DATED APRIL 20, 1970 (REFERENCE 09-00.11), REQUESTING AN ADVANCE DECISION AS TO THE PROPRIETY OF MAKING PAYMENT ON A SUPPLEMENTAL VOUCHER IN THE AMOUNT OF $144, IN FAVOR OF MR. MICHAEL A. LAIRD, REPRESENTING AN ATTORNEY'S FEE INCURRED BY HIM FOR THE PURCHASE OF A HOUSE IN CONNECTION WITH A CHANGE OF OFFICIAL STATION.

MR. LAIRD HAS REQUESTED PAYMENT OF THE AMOUNT ON THE BASIS THAT SINCE HE WAS PURCHASING A HOME DIRECTLY FROM AN OWNER WHO HAD HELD POSSESSION OF THE PROPERTY FOR ONLY THREE MONTHS AND SINCE HE WAS INEXPERIENCED IN SUCH MATTERS, THAT THE SERVICES OF AN ATTORNEY SEEMED TO HIM TO BE AS NECESSARY TO THE PURCHASE AS A REALTOR'S OR BROKER'S SERVICE WOULD BE IN DISPOSING OF A RESIDENCE, A REIMBURSABLE EXPENSE.

SECTION 4.2 OF BUREAU OF THE BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. A-56, REVISED JUNE 26, 1969, PROVIDES, IN PERTINENT PART:

"A. BROKER'S FEES AND REAL ESTATE COMMISSIONS. A BROKER'S FEE OR REAL ESTATE COMMISSION PAID BY THE EMPLOYEE FOR SERVICES IN SELLING HIS RESIDENCE IS REIMBURSABLE *** . NO SUCH FEE OR COMMISSION IS REIMBURSABLE IN CONNECTION WITH THE PURCHASE OF A HOME AT THE NEW OFFICIAL STATION.

"C.LEGAL AND RELATED COSTS. TO THE EXTENT SUCH COSTS HAVE NOT BEEN INCLUDED IN BROKERS' OR SIMILAR SERVICES *** THE FOLLOWING EXPENSES ARE REIMBURSABLE WITH RESPECT TO THE SALE AND PURCHASE OF RESIDENCES *** ; COSTS OF (1) SEARCHING TITLE, PREPARING ABSTRACT, AND LEGAL FEES FOR A TITLE OPINION, OR (2) WHERE CUSTOMARILY FURNISHED BY THE SELLER, THE COST OF A TITLE INSURANCE POLICY; COSTS OF PREPARING CONVEYANCES, OTHER INSTRUMENTS, AND CONTRACTS; RELATED NOTARY FEES AND RECORDING FEES; COSTS OF MAKING SURVEYS, PREPARING DRAWINGS OR PLATS WHEN REQUIRED FOR LEGAL OR FINANCING PURPOSES, AND SIMILAR EXPENSES. *** "

THE STATEMENT RENDERED BY THE LAW FIRM LISTS THE SERVICES PERFORMED IN THE TRANSACTION AS BEING "CONSULTATION, PREPARATION AND ATTENDANCE AT CLOSING," PROVIDING NO BREAKDOWN OR OTHER EXPLANATION. WE HAVE HELD THAT THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 4.2C DO NOT PERMIT PAYMENT OF AN ALL-INCLUSIVE LEGAL FEE. WHERE A LEGAL FEE PAID INCLUDES AMOUNTS FOR LEGAL REPRESENTATION AND COUNSELING, THE FULL AMOUNT OF THE FEE IS NOT REIMBURSABLE. ONLY THOSE PARTS OF AN ATTORNEY'S FEE THAT REPRESENT SERVICES OF THE TYPES ENUMERATED IN 4.2C ARE REIMBURSABLE. SEE B 161891, DATED AUGUST 21, 1967; B-163203, MARCH 1, 1968, AND MARCH 24, 1969; B- 163690, MARCH 29, 1968; B-167985, OCTOBER 15, 1969. WHILE WE APPRECIATE THAT MR. LAIRD MAY HAVE FELT IT NECESSARY IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES TO OBTAIN THE SERVICES OF AN ATTORNEY TO PROTECT HIS INTERESTS, THERE IS NO SUGGESTION IN THE RECORD THAT THE SERVICES PROVIDED WERE OTHER THAN OF AN ADVISORY NATURE.

IN THE ABSENCE OF A SPECIFICALLY ITEMIZED STATEMENT CLEARLY SHOWING THE SERVICES PERFORMED AND THE CHARGES APPLICABLE TO EACH SERVICE, NO PART OF THE VOUCHER IS ALLOWABLE. ACCORDINGLY, THE VOUCHER, RETURNED HEREWITH, MAY NOT BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT.