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The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) requested a decision about the propriety of reimbursing a transferred employee for an additional 2-percent commission he paid a real estate broker. The employee paid the broker a 9-percent commission on the sale of his previous residence after it had been on the market for almost a year. FBI determined that the prevailing broker's commission in the area was 7 percent, so FBI denied the claim for reimbursement for the additional 2 percent. The employee claimed that: (1) he was told that FBI would pay a 9-percent broker's commission; and (2) the higher commission rate was necessary to expedite the sale of the house because of local market conditions. GAO determined that the: (1) government was not responsible for erroneous advice given the employee; and (2) applicable statute and prevailing regulations made the applicable commission rate the rate generally charged by all the brokers in the area, not the rate charged by the employee's broker. Accordingly, the claim was denied.


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