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TO THE SECRETARY OF THE ARMY: REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER OF MAY 20. THE PAYMENTS WERE MADE FROM APPROPRIATIONS AVAILABLE FOR MAINTENANCE AND OPERATIONS AND COVER CHARGES FOR FREIGHT. ADDRESSED TO THE CHIEF OF OUR ARMY AUDIT BRANCH BY THE DEPUTY COMMANDER OF THE ARMY FINANCE CENTER IN WHICH REQUEST WAS MADE THAT CREDIT BE ALLOWED IN THE ACCOUNTS OF THE OFFICERS INVOLVED PURSUANT TO SECTION 1 OF THE ACT OF AUGUST 11. AS YOU NO DOUBT ARE AWARE. IN REPLY THERETO WE WERE REQUESTED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE TO TAKE NO ACTION UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF 31 U.S.C. 82A-2 UNTIL THEY HAD COMPLETED THEIR REVIEW OF THE MATTER AT WHICH TIME THEY WOULD ADVISE US FURTHER. NOW HAVE BEEN ADVISED INFORMALLY THAT CRIMINAL PROCEEDINGS IN THE MATTER HAVE BEEN CLOSED BUT THAT THE POSSIBILITY OF INSTITUTING CIVIL ACTION IS NOW UNDER CONSIDERATION.

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B-133316, JUN. 20, 1963

TO THE SECRETARY OF THE ARMY:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER OF MAY 20, 1963, FROM THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF THE ARMY (FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT), CONCERNING SEVERAL EXCEPTIONS STATED BY US IN THE ACCOUNTS OF MAJOR H. F. YATES AND LIEUTENANT COLONEL S. T. WILSON FOR CERTAIN PAYMENTS MADE IN CONNECTION WITH THE CONSTRUCTION OF AN AIRFIELD AT FORT LEE, VIRGINIA. THE PAYMENTS WERE MADE FROM APPROPRIATIONS AVAILABLE FOR MAINTENANCE AND OPERATIONS AND COVER CHARGES FOR FREIGHT, MATERIAL, AND OTHER COSTS OF CONSTRUCTION IN AN AMOUNT WHICH EXCEEDED THE $25,000 STATUTORY LIMITATION IMPOSED BY SECTION 408 (B) OF THE ACT OF AUGUST 3, 1956, CH. 939, 70 STAT. 1016.

THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY REFERS TO A LETTER OF FEBRUARY 14, 1962, ADDRESSED TO THE CHIEF OF OUR ARMY AUDIT BRANCH BY THE DEPUTY COMMANDER OF THE ARMY FINANCE CENTER IN WHICH REQUEST WAS MADE THAT CREDIT BE ALLOWED IN THE ACCOUNTS OF THE OFFICERS INVOLVED PURSUANT TO SECTION 1 OF THE ACT OF AUGUST 11, 1955, CH. 803, 69 STAT. 687, 31 U.S.C. 82A-2, AND HE ASKS ADVICE CONCERNING THE STATUS OF THAT REQUEST.

AS YOU NO DOUBT ARE AWARE, THE ENTIRE RECORD IN THE MATTER INVOLVING THE AIRFIELD AT FORT LEE HAD BEEN TRANSMITTED TO THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE FOR THOROUGH REVIEW AND FOR CONSIDERATION OF APPROPRIATE CORRECTIVE, DISCIPLINARY, AND CRIMINAL PROCEEDINGS AS RECOMMENDED IN HOUSE REPORT NO. 1858, 87TH CONGRESS, ENTITLED "ILLEGAL ACTIONS IN THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE AIRFIELD AT FORT LEE, " IN VIEW OF SUCH FACT WE ASKED THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, BY LETTER OF JULY 30, 1962, TO ADVISE US WHETHER ANY ACTION WE MIGHT TAKE UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF 31 U.S.C. 82A 2 RELATING TO THE FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY OF THESE TWO DISBURSING OFFICERS WOULD BE PREJUDICIAL TO ANY ACTION THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE MAY PROPOSE IN THE MATTER.

IN REPLY THERETO WE WERE REQUESTED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE TO TAKE NO ACTION UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF 31 U.S.C. 82A-2 UNTIL THEY HAD COMPLETED THEIR REVIEW OF THE MATTER AT WHICH TIME THEY WOULD ADVISE US FURTHER. NOW HAVE BEEN ADVISED INFORMALLY THAT CRIMINAL PROCEEDINGS IN THE MATTER HAVE BEEN CLOSED BUT THAT THE POSSIBILITY OF INSTITUTING CIVIL ACTION IS NOW UNDER CONSIDERATION. ACCORDINGLY, THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE HAS INFORMALLY ASKED US TO CONTINUE TO WITHHOLD ANY ACTION UNDER 31 U.S.C. 82A -2.

THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY SUGGESTS THAT AS MATTERS NOW STAND THESE TWO OFFICERS ARE SUBJECT TO A SUBSTANTIAL POTENTIAL INDEBTEDNESS TO THE UNITED STATES AND IF UNFORTUNATE CIRCUMSTANCES SHOULD LEAD TO THE DEATH OF EITHER OF THESE OFFICERS QUESTION WOULD ARISE AS TO THE PROPRIETY OF MAKING PAYMENT OF ANY SUMS DUE TO THE SURVIVORS OF THAT OFFICER. SINCE ANY DELAY OR REFUSAL TO MAKE PAYMENT COULD CREATE HARDSHIP FOR THE WIDOW OR SURVIVING CHILDREN HE PROPOSES, IN THE ABSENCE OF ANY OBJECTION FROM US, TO MAKE FULL PAYMENT OF ALL SUMS DUE TO THE SURVIVORS OF THESE OFFICERS IF THE DEATH OF EITHER OFFICER SHOULD OCCUR, AND, IF AT A LATER DATE IT IS DETERMINED THAT RELIEF COULD NOT BE GRANTED UNDER 31 U.S.C. 82A-2, RECOURSE THEN COULD BE HAD AGAINST THE ESTATE OF THE OFFICER.

IN THE EVENT THE OFFICERS WERE FOUND TO BE LIABLE TO THE UNITED STATES FOR THE ILLEGAL PAYMENTS MADE, IT SEEMS EVIDENT THAT PAYMENT TO THE SURVIVORS OF ANY MONEY DUE THE OFFICERS AT THE TIME OF THEIR DEATH WOULD DECREASE THE POSSIBILITY OF FULL RECOVERY BY THE UNITED STATES. ACCORDINGLY, WE MUST OBJECT TO THE ACTION PROPOSED TO BE TAKEN IN THE EVENT THE OFFICERS SHOULD DIE BEFORE THIS MATTER IS RESOLVED.

OFFICIALS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE INDICATE THAT THEY WILL SHORTLY BE ABLE TO ADVISE US WHEN CONSIDERATION MAY BE GIVEN TO THE REQUEST FOR RELIEF OF THESE OFFICERS WITHOUT INTERFERENCE WITH ANY FURTHER ACTION THAT THE DEPARTMENT MIGHT WISH TO TAKE IN THE MATTER. UPON RECEIPT OF SUCH ADVICE, THE QUESTION CONCERNING RELIEF OF THESE OFFICERS WILL BE GIVEN PROMPT ATTENTION.

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