B-62092, FEBRUARY 19, 1947, 26 COMP. GEN. 605

B-62092: Feb 19, 1947

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REWARDS - INFORMERS - ENTITLEMENT AS DEPENDING UPON KNOWLEDGE OF OFFER OF REWARD A PERSON WHO HAD NO KNOWLEDGE OF THE NAVY DEPARTMENT'S OFFER OF A REWARD FOR INFORMATION LEADING TO THE DISCOVERY OF A LOST NAVY AIRPLANE AT THE TIME HE DISCOVERED IT AND REPORTED ITS LOCATION TO THE PROPER AUTHORITIES IS NOT ENTITLED TO PAYMENT OF THE REWARD. 1947: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF NOVEMBER 15. THERE IS ENCLOSED HEREWITH FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION A LETTER FROM THE COMMANDING OFFICER. THE NAVY DEPARTMENT REQUESTS YOUR DECISION AS TO WHETHER THE CLAIM OF HICKMAN IN THE SUM OF $500 IS PROPERLY PAYABLE UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES SET FORTH IN THE ENCLOSURE. IT WILL BE OBSERVED FROM THE ENCLOSURE THAT HICKMAN HAD NO KNOWLEDGE OF THE OFFER OF REWARD IN THIS CASE AT THE TIME HE DISCOVERED THE LOST AIRPLANE.

B-62092, FEBRUARY 19, 1947, 26 COMP. GEN. 605

REWARDS - INFORMERS - ENTITLEMENT AS DEPENDING UPON KNOWLEDGE OF OFFER OF REWARD A PERSON WHO HAD NO KNOWLEDGE OF THE NAVY DEPARTMENT'S OFFER OF A REWARD FOR INFORMATION LEADING TO THE DISCOVERY OF A LOST NAVY AIRPLANE AT THE TIME HE DISCOVERED IT AND REPORTED ITS LOCATION TO THE PROPER AUTHORITIES IS NOT ENTITLED TO PAYMENT OF THE REWARD.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY, FEBRUARY 19, 1947:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF NOVEMBER 15, 1946, JAG.II.WG. KMH, L22-3, AS FOLLOWS.

THERE IS ENCLOSED HEREWITH FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION A LETTER FROM THE COMMANDING OFFICER, U.S. NAVAL AIR STATION, GROSSE ILE, MICHIGAN, DATED APRIL 24, 1946, WITH ACCOMPANYING PAPERS, RELATIVE TO PAYMENT OF A REWARD TO WAYNE E. HICKMAN, CIVILIAN, FOR HIS ASSISTANCE IN RECOVERING A NAVAL AIRCRAFT.

THE NAVY DEPARTMENT REQUESTS YOUR DECISION AS TO WHETHER THE CLAIM OF HICKMAN IN THE SUM OF $500 IS PROPERLY PAYABLE UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES SET FORTH IN THE ENCLOSURE.

IN CONNECTION WITH THE FOREGOING INQUIRY, IT WILL BE OBSERVED FROM THE ENCLOSURE THAT HICKMAN HAD NO KNOWLEDGE OF THE OFFER OF REWARD IN THIS CASE AT THE TIME HE DISCOVERED THE LOST AIRPLANE.

THE RECORD DISCLOSES THAT THE NAVY AIRPLANE, G-B-2, AIRCRAFT BUREAU NUMBER 101637, IN WHICH LIEUTENANT ROBERT F. GRANT, USNR, AND LIEUTENANT HERBERT M. JAY, USNR, WERE EN ROUTE FROM GROSSE ILE, MICHIGAN, TO ANACOSTIA, D.C., ON MAY 26, 1945, WAS LOST; THAT, PURSUANT TO AUTHORITY GRANTED BY THE CHIEF OF NAVAL OPERATIONS ON JUNE 6, 1945, THE COMMANDING OFFICER, NAVAL AIR STATION, GROSSE ILE, MICHIGAN, OFFERED A REWARD IN THE AMOUNT OF $500 FOR INFORMATION LEADING TO THE DISCOVERY OF THE SAID AIRCRAFT; AND THAT THE SAID AIRPLANE WAS FOUND WRECKED NEAR LOVETTSVILLE, VIRGINIA, ON SEPTEMBER 23, 1945, BY WAYNE HICKMAN.

A RIGHT TO A REWARD IS CONTRACTUAL IN NATURE AND CAN BE DERIVED ONLY UNDER A BINDING AND ENFORCEABLE CONTRACT WHICH RESTS ON ONE SIDE UPON A VALID OFFER AND ON THE OTHER UPON A VALID ACCEPTANCE OF SUCH OFFER. ACCORDING TO THE GREAT WEIGHT OF AUTHORITY, IN ORDER TO BE ENTITLED TO A REWARD OFFERED FOR A SPECIAL SERVICE, THE PERSON RENDERING SUCH SERVICE MUST HAVE KNOWLEDGE AT THE TIME IT IS PERFORMED OF THE OFFER OF A REWARD THEREFOR. WILLIAMS V. WEST CHICAGO ST. R. CO. ( LL., 1901), 61 N.E. 456; ARKANSAS BANKERS' ASSOCIATION V. LIGON ( ARK., 1927), 295 S.W. 4, 53 A.L.R. 534, AND CASES CITED THEREIN.

ACCORDINGLY, SINCE THE RECORD DISCLOSES THAT HICKMAN HAD NO KNOWLEDGE AT THE TIME HE DISCOVERED THE LOST PLANE OF THE OFFER OF A REWARD FOR INFORMATION LEADING TO ITS DISCOVERY, NO AUTHORITY EXISTS FOR PAYMENT OF THE $500 CLAIMED BY HIM.