B-130624, FEB. 25, 1957

B-130624: Feb 25, 1957

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TO PICKFORDS REMOVAL AND STORAGE SERVICE: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JANUARY 10. THE ACTION TAKEN IN DISALLOWING YOUR CLAIMS WAS BASED UPON THE FACT THAT THE CLAIMS AS REFERRED TO OUR OFFICE FOR SETTLEMENT LACKED PROPER IDENTIFICATION OF THE MEMBER FOR WHOM THE SERVICES WERE RENDERED AND BECAUSE THERE WAS FAILURE TO FURNISH PROPER DOCUMENTARY EVIDENCE IN SUPPORT THEREOF. THE QUESTION REALLY IS WHETHER SUCH REGULATIONS WERE EXISTENT AT THE TIME WE CARRIED OUT THIS WORK. THEY WERE CERTAINLY (SIC) NOT BROUGHT TO OUR ATTENTION. WE FEEL SURE YOU WILL AGREE WITH US. THE LIABILITY IS UPON YOUR OWN SERVICE PERSONNEL TO PROCEED FOR SERVICES REQUIRED IN ACCORD WITH YOUR STANDING PROCEDURE AS GOVERNED BY THESE REGULATIONS.

B-130624, FEB. 25, 1957

TO PICKFORDS REMOVAL AND STORAGE SERVICE:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JANUARY 10, 1957 (P7/2328/CLA), REQUESTING RECONSIDERATION OF THE ACTION TAKEN IN TWO SETTLEMENTS DATED DECEMBER 13, 1956, BY WHICH THE CLAIMS DIVISION OF OUR OFFICE DISALLOWED YOUR CLAIM FOR POUNDS 3-15-0 FOR SERVICES PERFORMED ON OCTOBER 18, 1951, IN CONNECTION WITH THE UNPACKING AND UNCRATING OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS OF CAPTAIN WILLIAMS AT BRACKEN COTTAGE, BUCKELBURY, ENGLAND, AND YOUR CLAIM FOR POUNDS 9-7-0 FOR SERVICES PERFORMED ON MARCH 28, 1951, IN CONNECTION WITH THE UNPACKING AND UNCRATING OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS OF CAPTAIN BLANCHFORD AT BRIZE NORTON. ALSO THERE HAS BEEN RECEIVED YOUR LETTER OF JANUARY 18, 1957, RELATING TO YOUR CLAIM FOR POUNDS 10-15-0 FOR SERVICES PERFORMED ON SEPTEMBER 14, 1951, IN CONNECTION WITH THE MOVEMENT OF THE HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS OF LIEUTENANT GIBSON FROM BURDROP PARK, WROUGHTON, TO 4 HILLSIDE PARK, PURTON, SWINDON, AND YOUR LETTER OF JANUARY 31, 1957, RELATING TO YOUR CLAIMS IN THE CASES OF MASTER SERGEANT JOHN S. O-NEAL, LIEUTENANT LOBRIFHIL, AND MR. GARRITY.

THE ACTION TAKEN IN DISALLOWING YOUR CLAIMS WAS BASED UPON THE FACT THAT THE CLAIMS AS REFERRED TO OUR OFFICE FOR SETTLEMENT LACKED PROPER IDENTIFICATION OF THE MEMBER FOR WHOM THE SERVICES WERE RENDERED AND BECAUSE THERE WAS FAILURE TO FURNISH PROPER DOCUMENTARY EVIDENCE IN SUPPORT THEREOF. IN CONNECTION WITH THE DENIAL OF YOUR CLAIMS IN THE CASES OF CAPTAIN WILLIAMS AND CAPTAIN BLANCHFORD YOU STATED, AMONG OTHER THINGS, THAT---

"YOU NOW BRING TO OUR ATTENTION CERTAIN RULES AND REGULATIONS. BUT THE QUESTION REALLY IS WHETHER SUCH REGULATIONS WERE EXISTENT AT THE TIME WE CARRIED OUT THIS WORK. IF SO, THEY WERE CERTAINLY (SIC) NOT BROUGHT TO OUR ATTENTION, AND WE FEEL SURE YOU WILL AGREE WITH US, THE LIABILITY IS UPON YOUR OWN SERVICE PERSONNEL TO PROCEED FOR SERVICES REQUIRED IN ACCORD WITH YOUR STANDING PROCEDURE AS GOVERNED BY THESE REGULATIONS, INSTEAD OF WHICH WE WERE REQUESTED VERBALLY TO CARRY OUT CERTAIN WORK FOR WHICH WE RECEIVED NO CONFIRMATORY ORDER.'

THE RECORDS SHOW THAT THE INSTANT CLAIMS WERE AMONG A LARGE NUMBER OF SIMILAR CLAIMS FILED BY YOU WHICH WERE FORWARDED HERE BY THE AIR FORCE FINANCE CENTER FOR ADJUDICATION AND SETTLEMENT, SUCH REFERRAL ACTION BEING REQUIRED BECAUSE THE FUNDS FROM WHICH SUCH CLAIMS ORDINARILY WOULD HAVE BEEN PAID INVOLVED A LAPSED APPROPRIATION. IN MOST INSTANCES THE MEMBER OF THE AIR FORCE INVOLVED WAS PROPERLY IDENTIFIED AND THE CLAIM WAS PROPERLY DOCUMENTED. IN SUCH CASES THE CLAIMS WERE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT. HOWEVER, IN CERTAIN OF THE CLAIMS, INCLUDING THE SIX HERE INVOLVED, THERE WAS LACKING A PROPER IDENTIFICATION OF THE MEMBER OF THE AIR FORCE FOR WHOM THE SERVICES WERE RENDERED AS WELL AS FAILURE TO SUPPORT THE INVOICE BY DOCUMENTARY EVIDENCE, SUCH AS A SIGNED RECEIPT OR OTHER EVIDENCE THAT THE SERVICES WERE ACTUALLY RENDERED.

THE RECORD INDICATES THAT THE AIR FORCE MADE EVERY EFFORT TO DEVELOP THE EVIDENCE NECESSARY TO THE ALLOWANCE OF YOUR CLAIMS. IN ORDER THAT YOU MAY BE FULLY ADVISED IN THE MATTER, THERE ARE SET FORTH BELOW CERTAIN EXCERPTS FROM THE REPORTS MADE TO OUR OFFICE BY THE AIR FORCE FINANCE CENTER. CONNECTION WITH YOUR CLAIM INVOLVING CAPTAIN WILLIAMS THE AIR FORCE FINANCE CENTER REPORTED IN A LETTER DATED JUNE 13, 1956, IN PART, AS FOLLOWS:

"FACTS SURROUNDING CLAIM: CLAIM REPRESENTED BY INVOICE NO. OEX 1418 IS ONE OF FORTY-SEVEN CLAIMS FORWARDED TO THIS OFFICE BY LETTER DATED 11 MAY 1956, FROM THE FINANCE OFFICE OF THE 3920TH AIR BASE GROUP (SAC). CONSIDERABLE TIME AND EFFORT WERE SPENT BY THE PERSONNEL IN AN ATTEMPT TO VERIFY THE VALIDITY OF CLAIMS. IN THE INSTANT CASE, INVOICE NO. OEX 1418 DOES NOT CONTAIN PROPER IDENTIFICATION OF MEMBER FOR WHOM THE SERVICES WERE RENDERED AND THE INVOICE IS UNSUPPORTED BY DOCUMENTARY EVIDENCE. LETTER WAS DISPATCHED TO CAPTAIN FRANK D. WILLIAMS IN AN EFFORT TO SECURE THE NECESSARY DATA; HOWEVER, THIS PROVED NEGATIVE.'

RESPECTING YOUR CLAIM INVOLVING CAPTAIN BLANCHFORD THE AIR FORCE FINANCE CENTER REPORTED IN A LETTER DATED JUNE 28, 1956, IN PART, AS FOLLOWS:

"FACTS SURROUNDING CLAIM: CLAIM REPRESENTED BY INVOICE DATED MARCH 1954 IS ONE OF FORTY-SEVEN CLAIMS FORWARDED TO THIS OFFICE BY LETTER DATED 11 MAY 1956, FROM THE FINANCE OFFICE OF THE 3920TH AIR BASE GROUP (SAC). CONSIDERABLE TIME AND EFFORT WERE SPENT IN AN ATTEMPT TO DETERMINE THE VALIDITY OF CLAIMS. PERSONNEL PRESENTLY ON DUTY AT THE HEADQUARTERS HAVE NO KNOWLEDGE OF THE TRANSACTION AND THERE ARE NO AVAILABLE RECORDS TO EITHER SUPPORT OR DENY THE CLAIMS. THE ENTIRE RECORDS ON FILE IN THIS OFFICE PERTAINING TO PICKFORDS, LIMITED, FAIL TO ESTABLISH THE REASON FOR THE UNUSUAL LAPSE OF TIME IN REQUESTING PAYMENT. THE CONTRACTING OFFICER HAS OUTLINED WHAT APPEARS TO HAVE BEEN THE PROCEDURES DURING THE YEARS 1951 AND 1952 FOR OPERATIONS UNDER CONTRACT NUMBER AF 61 (706/-21. APPARENTLY ORDERS AGAINST THE CONTRACT WERE GIVEN VERBALLY BY THE COMMERCIAL TRANSPORTATION OFFICER AND UPON RECEIPT OF INVOICES SPECIAL ORDERS AND STANDARD FORM 116 WERE ATTACHED THERETO AND FORWARDED TO THE CONTRACTING OFFICER WHO THEN WROTE A CONFIRMING ORDER AND FORWARDED DOCUMENTS TO THE FINANCE OFFICER FOR PAYMENT. THIS METHOD OF TRANSACTION CONTRIBUTED TO THE PRESENT DELINQUENCY OF THE INVOICES.

"IN THE INSTANT CASE THE IDENTITY OF THE MEMBER FOR WHOM THE SERVICES WERE PERFORMED CANNOT BE DETERMINED AS EVIDENCED BY REPLY MADE BY THE DIRECTOR OF PERSONNEL, DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE.' * * *

THE RECORD SHOWS THAT THE AIR FORCE FINANCE CENTER MADE SIMILAR REPORTS RESPECTING YOUR CLAIMS IN THE CASES OF LIEUTENANT GIBSON, MASTER SERGEANT O-NEAL, LIEUTENANT LOBRIFHIL, AND MR. GARRITY. IT IS TO BE NOTED THAT, WITH THE EXCEPTION OF YOUR CLAIM IN THE CASE OF MASTER SERGEANT O-NEAL, YOUR INVOICES DISCLOSE ONLY THE SURNAME OF THE INDIVIDUAL INVOLVED.

WE ARE SURE YOU REALIZE THAT IN THE ABSENCE OF THE FULL NAME OF THE MEMBER INVOLVED IT WAS IMPOSSIBLE FOR THE AIR FORCE FINANCE CENTER TO OBTAIN VERIFICATION OF THE SERVICES ALLEGEDLY RENDERED, AS WAS DONE IN CERTAIN SIMILAR CASES. IT WILL BE SEEN FROM THE FOREGOING QUOTATIONS THAT THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE MADE EVERY EFFORT TO DEVELOP THE FACTS RELATING TO YOUR CLAIMS, HOWEVER, THE FACTS AS ALLEGED BY YOU COULD NOT BE ESTABLISHED BY AVAILABLE RECORDS.

YOUR LETTER OF JANUARY 31, CONTAINS THE FOLLOWING PARAGRAPH:

"THERE IS, HOWEVER, ONE EXCEPTION IN THIS CASE, NAMELY THE ACCOUNT OF M/SGT. JOHN S. O-NEAL AND WE FEEL THAT IN ANY EVENT IN THIS PARTICULAR TRANSACTION WE HAVE ADVANCED ALL REASONABLE EVIDENCE TO SUBSTANTIATE HAVING CARRIED OUT THE WORK. WE HAVE PRODUCED AND LEFT WITH YOU FOR INSPECTION THE DELIVERY SHEET WHICH WAS OBTAINED DATED 8TH. MAY 1952, DOCUMENT MARKED NO. 47, IN THE BUNDLE LODGED WITH YOUR HEADQUARTERS HERE, AND WE HAVE NO DOUBT UNDER THESE CIRCUMSTANCES YOU WILL BE RE-CONSIDERING THE MATTER.'

WITH REFERENCE TO THE ABOVE-QUOTED STATEMENT THERE IS SET FORTH FOR YOUR INFORMATION A PARAGRAPH FROM A REPORT DATED NOVEMBER 8, 1956, BY THE AIR FORCE FINANCE CENTER, AS FOLLOWS:

"EXPLANATION OF DOUBTFUL ASPECTS: THERE IS A COPY OF A DELIVERY SHEET SUBMITTED BY THE CLAIMANT SIGNED BY A JOHN S. O-NEAL, HOWEVER, UPON QUESTIONING THE ONLY ONE BY THAT NAME WE COULD IDENTIFY, HE DENIED UNDER OATH, THAT IT WAS HIS SIGNATURE. COMPARISON OF SIGNATURES APPEARS TO SUBSTANTIATE HIS SWORN STATEMENT.'

IT IS A RULE OF THE ACCOUNTING OFFICERS THAT CLAIMANTS MUST FURNISH THE EVIDENCE AND INFORMATION NECESSARY TO ESTABLISH THEIR CLAIMS AGAINST THE UNITED STATES AND THE BURDEN IMPOSED BY SUCH RULE MUST BE MET IN EACH CASE IN ORDER TO JUSTIFY THE ACCOUNTING OFFICERS IN CERTIFYING THE CLAIMS FOR PAYMENT. SINCE THESE REQUIREMENTS HAVE NOT BEEN MET THE ACTION TAKEN IN DISALLOWING YOUR CLAIMS WAS CORRECT AND, UPON REVIEW, THE SAME IS AFFIRMED.

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