B-176582, SEP 5, 1972

B-176582: Sep 5, 1972

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THE DISALLOWANCE WAS FOR THE REASON THAT THE SETTLEMENT DATE FOR THE SALE OF YOUR RESIDENCE WAS NOT WITHIN THE ONE-YEAR LIMITATION OF THE REGULATIONS. OUR SETTLEMENT LETTER CONTAINED TWO DATES WHICH YOU BELIEVED WERE IN ERROR. THAT YOUR HOUSE WAS PLACED ON THE MARKET ON JANUARY 13. THAT WAS THE DATE YOU CONTRACTED FOR THE SALE OF YOUR PROPERTY AND THE REFERENCE IN THE SETTLEMENT THERETO WAS CORRECT. WHILE THE DATE YOU REPORTED FOR DUTY WAS STATED BY YOUR ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE TO BE JANUARY 12. SUCH DISCREPANCY DOES NOT MATERIALLY CHANGE ANY RIGHTS TO PAYMENT OF YOUR CLAIM SINCE THE DATE OF SETTLEMENT IN EITHER CASE WAS MORE THAN ONE YEAR BEYOND THE DATE YOU REPORTED FOR DUTY AT YOUR NEW OFFICIAL STATION.

B-176582, SEP 5, 1972

CIVILIAN EMPLOYEE - SALE OF RESIDENCE - TIME LIMIT DENIAL OF CLAIM BY FRANCIS E. DUNMORE FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF REAL ESTATE EXPENSES INCURRED IN CONNECTION WITH THE SALE OF A RESIDENCE INCIDENT TO A PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION WHERE THE SALE OCCURRED MORE THAN ONE YEAR AFTER THE TRANSFER. IN SETTLING CLAIMS, GAO MAY AUTHORIZE PAYMENT ONLY IN ACCORDANCE WITH LAW AND VALID REGULATIONS PROMULGATED IN ACCORDANCE WITH STATUTORY PROVISIONS. THE APPLICABLE REGULATION, OMB CIRCULAR NO. A-56, HAS THE FORCE AND EFFECT OF LAW AND MAY NOT BE WAIVED IN THIS CASE SINCE THE CONDITIONS WHICH DELAYED THE SALE OF THE HOUSE, A SLOW MARKET AND TIGHT MONEY SITUATION, DO NOT CONSTITUTE EXCEPTIONS TO THE REGULATION.

TO MR. FRANCIS E. DUNMORE:

THIS REFERS TO YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 15, 1972, WHICH REQUESTED FURTHER CONSIDERATION OF OUR SETTLEMENT OF MAY 12, 1972, DISALLOWING YOUR CLAIM FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF REAL ESTATE EXPENSES INCURRED IN CONNECTION WITH THE SALE OF YOUR RESIDENCE AT MT. HOLLEY, NEW JERSEY, INCIDENT TO YOUR PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION MOVE TO ATLANTIC CITY, NEW JERSEY. THE DISALLOWANCE WAS FOR THE REASON THAT THE SETTLEMENT DATE FOR THE SALE OF YOUR RESIDENCE WAS NOT WITHIN THE ONE-YEAR LIMITATION OF THE REGULATIONS.

OUR SETTLEMENT LETTER CONTAINED TWO DATES WHICH YOU BELIEVED WERE IN ERROR. FIRST, YOU POINT OUT THAT YOU REPORTED FOR DUTY ON OR ABOUT NOVEMBER 17, 1969, INSTEAD OF JANUARY 12, 1970, AND SECOND, THAT YOUR HOUSE WAS PLACED ON THE MARKET ON JANUARY 13, 1970, RATHER THAN MAY 17, 1971.

WITH RESPECT TO THE DATE MAY 17, 1971, THAT WAS THE DATE YOU CONTRACTED FOR THE SALE OF YOUR PROPERTY AND THE REFERENCE IN THE SETTLEMENT THERETO WAS CORRECT. WHILE THE DATE YOU REPORTED FOR DUTY WAS STATED BY YOUR ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE TO BE JANUARY 12, 1970, RATHER THAN NOVEMBER 17, 1969, SUCH DISCREPANCY DOES NOT MATERIALLY CHANGE ANY RIGHTS TO PAYMENT OF YOUR CLAIM SINCE THE DATE OF SETTLEMENT IN EITHER CASE WAS MORE THAN ONE YEAR BEYOND THE DATE YOU REPORTED FOR DUTY AT YOUR NEW OFFICIAL STATION. FURTHERMORE, THE CONTRACT OF SALE WAS NOT ENTERED INTO WITHIN ONE YEAR FROM EITHER DATE SO AS TO AUTHORIZE AN EXTENSION OF THE ONE-YEAR LIMITATION.

YOU STATED THAT YOU KNEW LEGALLY AND IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE REGULATIONS AS WRITTEN YOU WOULD ONLY BE ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT AFTER ONE (INITIAL) YEAR IF (1) AN APPROPRIATE EXTENSION OF TIME HAD BEEN AUTHORIZED OR APPROVED BY THE HEAD OF THE AGENCY OR HIS DESIGNEE WHEN SETTLEMENT IS NECESSARILY DELAYED BECAUSE OF LITIGATION OR (2) AN ADDITIONAL PERIOD OF TIME NOT IN EXCESS OF ONE YEAR HAD BEEN AUTHORIZED OR APPROVED BY THE HEAD OF THE AGENCY OR HIS DESIGNEE WHEN HE DETERMINED THAT CIRCUMSTANCES JUSTIFYING THE EXCEPTION EXISTED WHICH PRECLUDED SETTLEMENT WITHIN THE INITIAL ONE-YEAR PERIOD OF THE SALE PURCHASE CONTRACT ENTERED INTO IN GOOD FAITH BY THE EMPLOYEE WITHIN THE INITIAL ONE-YEAR PERIOD. IN YOUR CASE THE SALE WAS NOT DELAYED BY LITIGATION, NOR HAD YOU ENTERED INTO A CONTRACT OF SALE WITHIN THE ONE YEAR PERIOD SO AS TO QUALIFY FOR AN EXTENSION OF THE PERIOD. BEFORE SUBMITTING YOUR FORMER REQUEST FOR A WAIVER YOU SAID YOU WERE ALSO AWARE OF THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL'S DECISION CONCERNING THE ONE-YEAR LIMITATION. NEVERTHELESS, YOU REQUEST THAT FURTHER REVIEW OF YOUR CLAIM BE BASED ON MORAL AS WELL AS LEGAL CONSIDERATION.

IN SETTLING CLAIMS THIS OFFICE MAY AUTHORIZE PAYMENT ONLY IN ACCORDANCE WITH LAW AND VALID REGULATIONS PROMULGATED IN ACCORDANCE WITH STATUTORY PROVISIONS. THE APPLICABLE REGULATION, SECTION 4.1E OF OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. A-56, REVISED JUNE 26, 1969, HAS THE FORCE AND EFFECT OF LAW AND MAY NOT BE WAIVED SO AS TO PERMIT REIMBURSEMENT. THE CONDITIONS WHICH DELAYED THE SALE OF YOUR HOUSE, I.E., A SLOW MARKET AND TIGHT MONEY SITUATION, DO NOT CONSTITUTE EXCEPTIONS FROM THE CONTROLLING STATUTORY REGULATION.

UNDER THE PERTINENT REGULATIONS IT CONSISTENTLY HAS BEEN HELD THAT A DELAY NOT CAUSED BY LITIGATION OR COVERED BY A VALID ADMINISTRATIVE EXTENSION OF THE ONE-YEAR PERIOD DOES NOT AFFORD A LEGAL BASIS FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF REAL ESTATE EXPENSE INCURRED IN CONNECTION WITH THE SALE OF A RESIDENCE. FOR YOUR INFORMATION WE ARE FORWARDING A COPY OF OUR DECISION B-172160 DATED APRIL 6, 1971.

WE FIND NO BASIS FOR ALTERING OUR SETTLEMENT OF MAY 12, 1972, DISALLOWING YOUR CLAIM.