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CONCERNING THE MATTER OF YOUR INDEBTEDNESS TO THE UNITED STATES IS THE NET AMOUNT OF $2. IT IS CLEAR. THAT YOU ARE OF THE OPINION THAT THERE IS NO LEGAL FOUNDATION FOR THE POSITION TAKEN BY THE GOVERNMENT. OUR VIEW OF THE MATTER HAS BEEN APPLIED IN DETERMINING THE RIGHTS OF MANY OFFICERS WHO SERVED AS INTERNS UNDER CIRCUMSTANCES LIKE YOURS AND WE ARE FIRMLY CONVINCED THAT OUR POSITION IS LEGALLY SOUND. IS THAT AS A NAVAL OFFICER YOU OCCUPIED A POSITION OF PUBLIC TRUST WHICH COULD NOT LEGALLY BE USED DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY FOR YOUR PERSONAL PROFIT. IN WHICH THERE ARE CITED COURT CASES IN SUPPORT OF A LIKE CONCLUSION. IN WHICH IT WAS HELD THAT COMPENSATION IN THE FORM OF MEALS FURNISHED TO AN AIR FORCE MEDICAL OFFICER ON DUTY AS AN INTERN IN A PRIVATE HOSPITAL.

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B-129272, JAN. 3, 1957

TO DR. GEORGE G. BROWNING, USCM:

YOUR LETTER OF NOVEMBER 28, 1956, CONCERNING THE MATTER OF YOUR INDEBTEDNESS TO THE UNITED STATES IS THE NET AMOUNT OF $2,404.30 HAS BEEN CONSIDERED. THE INDEBTEDNESS REPRESENTS COMPENSATION RECEIVED BY YOU FROM THE WAYNE COUNTY GENERAL HOSPITAL AND INFIRMARY, ELOISE, MICHIGAN, FOR SERVICES AS AN INTERN THERE DURING THE PERIOD JULY 13, 1949, TO JUNE 30, 1950, WHILE YOU CONCURRENTLY RECEIVED ACTIVE-DUTY PAY AND ALLOWANCES AS AN OFFICER OF THE U.S. NAVAL RESERVE.

WHILE YOUR LAST LETTER, AS WELL AS PREVIOUS CORRESPONDENCE FROM YOU, CONTAINS SOME INDICATION TO THE CONTRARY, IT SEEMS REASONABLY CLEAR THAT YOU UNDERSTAND THE BASIS OF THE GOVERNMENT'S CLAIM AGAINST YOU. IT IS CLEAR, ALSO, THAT YOU ARE OF THE OPINION THAT THERE IS NO LEGAL FOUNDATION FOR THE POSITION TAKEN BY THE GOVERNMENT. OUR VIEW OF THE MATTER HAS BEEN APPLIED IN DETERMINING THE RIGHTS OF MANY OFFICERS WHO SERVED AS INTERNS UNDER CIRCUMSTANCES LIKE YOURS AND WE ARE FIRMLY CONVINCED THAT OUR POSITION IS LEGALLY SOUND.

BRIEFLY STATED, THE BASIS FOR THE DETERMINATION OF YOUR LIABILITY TO THE GOVERNMENT FOR THE COMPENSATION RECEIVED BY YOU, IN ADDITION TO YOUR NAVAL PAY, IS THAT AS A NAVAL OFFICER YOU OCCUPIED A POSITION OF PUBLIC TRUST WHICH COULD NOT LEGALLY BE USED DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY FOR YOUR PERSONAL PROFIT; THAT THE COMPENSATION RECEIVED FROM THE HOSPITAL FOR YOUR SERVICES AS A NAVAL OFFICER BELONGED TO YOUR EMPLOYER, THE GOVERNMENT; AND THEREFORE THAT SUCH COMPENSATION MUST BE CONSIDERED AS HAVING BEEN RECEIVED BY YOU FOR THE ACCOUNT AND BENEFIT OF THE GOVERNMENT. SEE IN THAT CONNECTION OUR DECISION OF APRIL 16, 1953, B-113776 (32 COMP. GEN. 454), IN THE CASE OF DR. EDWARD L. PINNEY, JR., PREVIOUSLY FURNISHED YOU, INVOLVING A SITUATION SIMILAR TO YOURS, IN WHICH THERE ARE CITED COURT CASES IN SUPPORT OF A LIKE CONCLUSION. ALSO, COMPARE DECISION OF THE UNITED STATES COURT OF CLAIMS IN THE CASE OF MORRISS V. THE UNITED STATES, NO. 6-55, DECIDED APRIL 3, 1956, IN WHICH IT WAS HELD THAT COMPENSATION IN THE FORM OF MEALS FURNISHED TO AN AIR FORCE MEDICAL OFFICER ON DUTY AS AN INTERN IN A PRIVATE HOSPITAL, TO WHICH HE HAD BEEN ASSIGNED BY THE GOVERNMENT FOR TRAINING, MUST BE CONSIDERED AS HAVING BEEN FURNISHED BY WAY OF COMPENSATION TO THE GOVERNMENT FOR FURNISHING THE INTERN'S SERVICES TO THE HOSPITAL.

IN OUR OPINION YOUR OBLIGATION TO THE GOVERNMENT IN THE SUM OF $2,404.30, REPRESENTING THE COMPENSATION RECEIVED FROM THE WAYNE COUNTY GENERAL HOSPITAL AND INFIRMARY IS CLEAR. UNDER SUCH CIRCUMSTANCES IT IS OUR RESPONSIBILITY TO TAKE ALL STEPS AVAILABLE TO US TO EFFECT COLLECTION AND, THEREFORE, WE MUST ADVISE YOU THAT UNLESS PAYMENT OF THE OBLIGATION, OR A SUBSTANTIAL DOWN PAYMENT TOGETHER WITH A STATEMENT OF A PLAN FOR THE PAYMENT OF THE REMAINDER WITHIN A REASONABLE TIME, IS SUBMITTED TO THE UNITED STATES GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE, POST OFFICE BOX 2610, WASHINGTON 13, D.C. THE MATTER WILL BE REPORTED TO THE UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE FOR SUCH LEGAL ACTION BY THAT DEPARTMENT AS IS DEEMED APPROPRIATE.

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