Imágenes de páginas

the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, known as the Morton Butler suit. We first took it to the United States district court, and the jury of award gave an award of approximately $800,000. We asked for a new trial, which was granted, and the later award was for $483,500. That was appealed from the District Court of the United States for the Eastern District of Tennessee to the United States Circuit Court of Appeals, and the Circuit Court of Appeals has handed down a decision dated June 28, 1937, in which is affirmed the condemnation award of $483,500. It also allowed interest to run from August 6, 1935. After the usual 30 days, an order of mandate was granted or issued on July 28, following which we prepared a voucher on the Treasury to cover the interest, which amounted to $56,098.80. We were then told that the money had been carried back to the surplus fund, and that there was no money available for making the payment because of the lapse of 2 fiscal years. There is only one other way to handle it, and that is by reporting it to Congress as a claim. However, this interest runs against the United States at the rate of $79.48 per day. For that reason, we have brought up the matter in this way.

Mr. WOODRUM. What is the rate of interest? Mr. DEMARAY. The rate is 6 percent. We thought that the situation should be handled in this manner, and that we should report it to Congress.

That does not cover all the funds we are asking for, because we have a similar situation in two other land cases that are pending in connection with the Smoky Mountain National Park. One of those cases happens to be for 86 acres, and the estimate for that is $3,601. The other case involves 75 acres, for which the estimate is $2,500. In the first case the jury's award was for $8,445, and in the second case the jury's award was in the amount of $9,000. The Attorney General of the United States was asked to seek a new trial in both of those cases. When they are finally settled, we will have no money to pay for them, and, therefore, we will have to certify them as claims in accordance with section 714 of the United States Code.

Mr. Ludlow. What kind of land is contained in that 75 acres for which the award was $9,000?

Mr. DEMARAY. It lies in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. We believed that it was not worth more than $2,500, but the jury's award was $9,000.

Mr. Ludlow. It is mountain land?
Mr. DEMARAY. Yes, sir; it is mountain land.
Mr. Ludlow. It is unfit for cultivation?
Mr. DEMARAY. We assume so.

Mr. Ludlow. What is there about it that would give it a value of $9,000?

Mr. DEMARAY. The reason we are asking for a new trial is because we believe it is an unjustifiable award.

Mr. Ludlow. The other part of the country, in the immediate vicinity, is of the same description.

Mr. DEMARAY. Yes, sir.
Mr. WOODRUM. How much land is involved in this?

Mr. DEMARAY. In these particular cases, there are 24,939.2 acres involved.

Mr. WOODRUM. What composes this item of $192,568? Do you have a break-down of that?

Mr. DEMARAY. It covers these two pending cases in Tennessee, in connection with the Great Smoky National Park, and it also covers 51 condemnation cases now pending in the Mammoth Cave area in Kentucky. The estimate for the lands in Mammoth Cave is $203,744.89, but in the case of Kentucky, we have a donation from the State which will pay the difference between the funds we have and whatever the final awards may be.

Mr. WOODRUM. Can you put in the record an analysis of this estimate, showing what lands were acquired under this allocation of $2,325,000? Suppose you give us an analysis on that showing what has been paid, and what has to be paid.

Mr. DEMARAY. I will do so. (Said analysis is as follows:)

Analysis of disposition of funds and lands acquired under allocation of $2,325,000

made by Executive Order No. 6542 dated Dec. 28, 1933 Amount allotted each area described in order: Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

1 $1, 550, 000 Shenandoah National Park.

i 175, 000 Mammoth Cave National Park,

300, 000 Colonial National Monument (now Colonial National Historical Park)

300, 000 Lands acquired in above-mentioned areas, and cost thereof: Great Smoky Mountains National Park: North Carolina side of park (33,921.52 acres)

944, 393. 58 Tennessee side of park (199.25 acres)

42, 178. 07 Shenandoah National Park (11,989.51 acres)-

128, 996. 00 Mammoth Cave National Park (4,397.47 acres)

165, 592. 11 Colonial National Historical Park (2,588.00 acres)

301, 939. 00

Total (53,095.75 acres)

1, 583, 098. 76 Amount now in registry of District Court for Eastern District of

Tennessee (Morton Butler case), representing award of $483,500,
Myers property and partial interest (24,939.20 acres).

502, 543. 46 Interest on this award (under decision of United States Circuit

Court of Appeals, sixth circuit) to Aug. 6, 1937, which is now accruing at rate of $80 per day (approximately), but for which no funds now available...

56, 492. 00 Awards for 2 parcels of 86 and 75 acres in Great Smoky Mountains

National Park, but on which appeal has been requested as our estimate was $6,100.-

17, 445. 00 Under condemnation or contract at Mammoth Cave, Ky. (6,05'1.60 acres)

2 203, 744. 89 Total.-end

2 2, 363, 324. 11 The item of $192,568 is to be applied toward the sums of $56,492, $17,445 and $203,744.89 listed above and for which no Federal funds are now available. These three sums will, of course, require adjustment to conform to final court awards, accrued interest, etc.

Mr. DEMARAY. We have acquired title that is now vested in the United States to 53,095.75 acres, which cost $1,583,098.76.

Mr. WOODRUM. How much of the funds provided in the Emergency Relief Act of 1937 were allocated for the purchase of land for the National Park Service?

Mr. DEMARAY. There has been no allocation from the 1937 Relief Act. This was taken from the fourth deficiency act. This money we are considering here has lapsed.

! $20, 157 transferred to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Allotment adjustable accordingly after July 27, 1935.

· Excess of $38,324.11 over $2,325,000 allocated by Executive order to be taken froml unds donated by State of Kentucky for acquisition oí park lands

Mr. McMillan. No authority is carried in that act for the purchase of land.

Mr. DEMARAY. No, sir; not in the 1937 act.

Mr. Ludlow. In these cases, there was quite a difference between your judgment and the judgment of the juries that made the awards.

Mr. DEMARAY. Yes, sir; and we appealed those cases. Mr. Ludlow. Where are they now? Mr. DEMARAY. We appealed for a new trial in the district court. We had the same experience in this Morton Butler suit, because the jury's award was $800,000. When we won a new trial, the award was $483,500.

Mr. Ludlow. In all of those instances you cite, where there was such a disparity between your estimate and the awards, what was contiguous lands selling for on the market?

Mr. DEMARAY. I doubt whether there have been any sales or transfers at all in this particular area.

Mr. Ludlow. You might say that it is almost valueless except for scenic or park purposes.

Mr. DEMARAY. Yes, sir. The jury awards are always made by local juries who are prejudiced in favor of the man who owns the land.

Mr. SNYDER. How long has it been since that case you mentioned originated? Was it 3 or 4 years ago?

Mr. DEMARAY. This has been in court over 3 years.
Mr. SNYDER. How long have you been paying $79 per day interest?

Mr. DEMARAY. The court's ruling on that was that the interest should be paid from August 6, 1935.

Mr. SNYDER. When was the ruling made?
Mr. DEMARAY. The ruling or decision was on June 28, 1937.

Mr. SNYDER. So the interest has been running at the rate of $79 per day since 1935.

Mr. DEMARAY. That is what the judge allowed. Mr. WOODRUM. As a matter of recapitulation, out of the emergency relief fund of 1933, amounting to $3,300,000,000, the President by Executive Order No. 6542 allocated to the National Park Service $2,325,000 for the acquisition of various lands, of which these lands were a part.

Mr. DEMARAY. Yes, sir.

Mr. WOODRUM. It now develops that those funds became unavailable on June 30 last.

Mr. DEMARAY. The funds were covered into the surplus fund in the Treasury.

Mr. WOODRUM. Therefore, those funds were a part of the unerpended balance appropriated under the Emergency Relief Act of 1937

Mr. DEMARAY. I am not sure whether I am correct on that, or not.


Mr. WOODRUM. I want to find out about that, because that question will be asked on the floor of the House. We will be asked whether the money that we may make available for the acquisition of this land is money that might be available in 1938 for relief purposes. That question will be asked, and I want to be able to answer it.

Mr. DEMARAY. Section 713 of the United States Code says that after the 1st day of July of each year the Secretary of the Treasury shall cause the unexpended balances of appropriations which shall have remained upon the books of the Treasury for 2 fiscal years, to be carried to the surplus fund and covered into the Treasury. That is what has been done in this case.

Mr. WOODRUM. That is true, but the relief act appropriated the unexpended balances of that former appropriation for relief purposes.

Mr. Taber. This provision we have here would be a nullity.

Mr. WOODRUM. The question is whether or not the passage of this provision would take $192,568 which might be used by the President for relief purposes under the Relief Act of 1937.

Mr. TABER. We have already enacted a law reappropriating all of the unexpended balances in this category. Now, if you pass a law appropriating a specific item out of that fund, your action will be a nullity, because there is no money left under that act that has not already been appropriated.

Mr. WOODRUM. But we could still direct the President how to use this unexpended balance.

Mr. DEMARAY. If I may, I will make this further point: Under the very next paragraph of the code, these same charges which would arise in these cases would be certified to the Comptroller General. Section 714 provides that it shall be the duty of the General Accounting Office to continue to receive, examine, and consider the justice and validity of all claims under the appropriations which have been exhausted or carried to the surplus fund under the provisions of section 713 of this title, that may be brought within a period of 5 years. Therefore, this claim will be certified to the Comptroller General as a valid claim, and if valid, will be paid under the provisions of section 714 of the United States Code.

Mr. WOODRUM. We thank you for your statement.

THURSDAY, JULY 22, 1937.






Mr. WOODRUM. We have before us in House Document No. 285 an item in the amount of $15,000 for settling disputed land claims along the shores of the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers. Mr. Settle, secretary of the National Capital Park and Planning Commission is here to explain this item. Mr. Settle, will you give us a brief statement of the purpose of this item; what is expected to be done with the

money, and so forth? Mr. SETTLE. Mr. Chairman, since 1888 the United States has been trying to clear t tle to the shores of the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers. When Maryland ceded part of the District of Columbia to the Federal Government there went with it, coming down from Lord Baltimore, the title to the bed of those rivers and questions from time to time have arisen as to who owned the shores up to the high-water mark.

The purpose of this act is to settle, as provided by law, several of those conflicting claims.

I believe I can save your time by reading a letter from Chairman Frederic A. Delano to the Secretary of the Interior on this matter. Before doing that, I will call your attention again to the top of page 2 of the document, where the Bureau of the Budget says:

This estimate is required to enable the Secretary of the Interior to carry out the purposes of the act of June 4, 1934, which authorizes him, with the approval of the National Park and Planning Commission and the Attorney General of the United States, to make equitable adjustments or settlements of these claims.

Then the language given below is the language that was written by the Attorney General so that the appropriation would be legally proper; that is, the appropriation of $15,000.

Now, Mr. Delano writes to the Secretary of the Interior regarding this matter, as follows:

For many years there has been a dispute between the United States, the owner of the bed of the Potomac River, and the upland owners of lands bordering the shores of the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers as to the ownership of these shores. This has been further aggravated by the disputes as to the boundary line along the Potomac River between the District of Columbia and Virginia.

On April 27, 1912, Congress passed an act directing the Attorney General of the United States to clear title to these lands in courts of equity. Under the act of June 4, 1934, the Secretary of the Interior was authorized, with the approval of the National Capital Park and Planning Commission and the Attorney General of the United States, to make equitable adjustments or settlements of these conflicting claims.

Originally, it went through the courts and the court would make an award saying the title belonged to the United States but that there was a certain equitable claim. Many of these came from natural accretions that came in during this period. The court would make the award and Congress would make the appropriation.

So, to bring down the number of these disputed matters and clear them for equitable adjustment without continuing to drag them through the courts, the act of 1934 allowed the Secretary of the Interior, provided he had the approval of the Attorney General that tried the case, and the National Capital Park and Planning Commission responsible for the acquisition of park lands in the District, to make these adjustments.

At our request the Attorney General filed suit on an area known as Roach's Run (120 acres) on the Virginia shore and traversed by the Mount Vernon Highway, but also covered by a patent from the State of Virginia to certain citizens of Virginia.

That is just across the Highway Bridge, going down the Potomac River. You can see it on this map, this are here sindicating on map).

At the request of the Commission, the Attorney General is also preparing suit to clear title to certain lands on the eastern bank of the Anacostia River, lying south of Eleventh Street Bridge, and within the present boundary lines of Anacostia Park.

That area is right in here [indicating on map). A good deal of equity seems to be on the side of the claimants. This indicating has been filled in and made a part of the park. But there are two different owners in there and that is also one of the matters of adjustment.

There are also several areas in dispute and litigation on the western banks of the Anacostia River.

« AnteriorContinuar »