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ing January 31, 1961, in the land acquisition field, were a total of 37,704 tracts of land. During the 1960 fiscal year 17,876 tracts of land were closed. Actually, since the January 31 figure was prepared we have received one request from the Navy Department for the acquisition by condemnation of one project involving 3,500 tracts of land. So, as of today we have pending in our office for disposition a total of roughly 41,000 tracts of land.
On the basis of our closing record for the year 1960, that alone represents 2 years of solid work without any additional work coming in. Yet we know from our surveys made of the acquiring agencies that there will be upwards of 39,000 tracts received during the balance of this year and during the 1962 fiscal year. That will increase our appraisal problem.
Our needs for appraisals are related not only to the land acquisition work but also to our general litigation as well. I know that you well know the types of cases handled by our General Litigation Sectin. They run the full gamut of all the legal cases that might be filed pertaining to the vast property holdings of the Government. A great many of the cases handled by the trial unit of our general litigation section are the inverse condemnation cases, and particularly the avigation easement type of case against the United States filed either in the district courts or in the Court of Claims, depending upon the amount of money claimed by the claimant. The increased land acquisition program with which we are faced, particularly the expansion of airports to convert them from the handling of the propeller type of plane to the jet type of plane, will have as a backwash greatly increased avigation easement litigation in our trial unit of the general litigation section.
Mr. ROONEY. How many tracts have you received in the current fiscal
year, up to the latest available date? Mr. WILLIAMS. So far we have received this year a total of 9,146 tracts. That is divided almost equally between condemnation and direct purchase. Actually, the condemnations are slightly less.
Mr. Rooney. We are talking about land acquisition.
Mr. WILLIAMS. That is so far this year. That would be up to January 31, 1961. Mr. Rooney. At this rate you will have fewer tracts than you
had in 1959.
Mr. WILLIAMS. In addition to these 9,446 tracts, we have to consider the 3,500 additional ones that came in just a short while ago, which would bring that up to over 12,000 as of today.
Mr. Rooney. When you say "a short while ago," what do you mean? Since January 31 ?
Mr. WILLIAMS. I mean after January 31, between January 31 and 2 days ago when I heard about it.
Mr. ROONEY. I am trying to figure out how it is that, although you received 12 percent less tracts during the 1960 fiscal year as compared with the previous year, you now come along for over a quarter of a million dollars in "rising costs of appraisers, experts, and so forth." This we do not understand from anything which has been said up to now.
Mr. W'ILLIAMS. I think you must approach this from the standpoint of the work we shall get for the 1962 fiscal year, not what has gone on in the past. We now have pending and undisposed of right in our office a total of 37,704 tracts. That was as of January 31, 1961.
CALCULATION OF REQUESTED INCREASE
Mr. Rooney. What is the breakdown of the figure $259,000? Where would we find that?
Mr. WILLIAMS. I do not believe there is any breakdown of the $259,000.
Mr. ROONEY. How did you arrive at it?
Mr. WILLIAMS. We arrived at it in this way: The actual expenditures for 1960 were $1,142,514. I would like to indicate parenthetically that that included a supplemental of $160,000 which was allowed by the Congress. We have available for 1961 $1,112,000. Our estimate for 1962 is $1,371,000.
Our actual expenditures to January 31, 1961, for expert witnesses, masters' fees, and that sort of thing, amounted to $753,714.99. If you divide that amount by 7, since it covers a 7-month period, it gives you a $108,000 per month average expenditure so far this year. If you project that for the next 5 months, it totals $540,000, and indicates an annual expenditure of $1,293,714.
Mr. Rooney. Is that the right way to do this? Are there not some months when the amount to be expended would be less?
Mr. WILLIAMS. No; I do not think so. By spending this money we mean we have obligated it. It may or may not actually have been all spent. These are obligations, not actual expenditures.
So, on a 12-month basis for 1961, going at the rate we are going, a total of $1,293,714 will have been spent, which exceeds the amount available for this year and approaches the amount requested for 1962. That means we will have to do as we have done in the past. Unless some money can be made available from someplace, we must curtail our operations toward the end of the fiscal year and hold in abeyance these requests for the employment of expert witnesses until we get our fresh money for 1962.
PAYMENT OF EXPERT WITNESSES
Mr. Rooney. Do you have to pay these expert witnesses before they testify?
Mr. WILLIAMS. No, sir, we do not pay them before they testify, but we pay them for the actual appraisal before they testify, when they have completed that preparatory work.
Mr. ROONEY. Why is this not a proper matter for a supplemental, if and when we get to it, in view of the falling off in cases as between 1960 and 1959 ?
Mr. WILLIAMS. I do not believe it would be a proper case for supplemental for this reason, among others
Mr. Rooney. You had a supplemental in the current year; did you not?
Mr. WILLIAMS. Not this year.
Mr. WILLIAMS. No. In 1960 we had a supplemental for expert services, but we have not had a supplemental this year. We requested one for $500,000 but you gave us an amendment to the Indian Claims Commission Act instead of the money. We still might be faced with the need for one, but probably we would not have time to get up here with it. Actually, in the Indian claims cases, which I will get to in a moment, we cannot get into those contracts piecemeal. We must obligate the money because they are long-range contracts which require a great deal of time to complete and a great deal of money.
They might run over one or two different fiscal years. Actually, in the ethnological field and the historical field, many of our experts on the question of liability in those cases are obtained from the academic field. They are professors in various schools throughout the country. They cannot devote their full time to such a project.
You are familiar, of course, with the consideration this committee gave to the appraisal of all that land in California at an estimated cost of $500,000, which might have taken several years. That is why we cannot do the thing piecemeal on the Indian cases. On the other cases we have to contract for them in advance and pay them when the appraisals are completed. Then whenever their testimony comes along, whenever it may be, we will have to pay them upon its completion at the agreed rate for the number of days in court attendance.
On this matter of appraisals, on this projection for the current year, that comes within $77,000 of the $1,371,000 requested for this item for 1962.
INDIAN CLAIMS CASES
I believe it is appropriate for me to mention secondly that in connection with the Indian claims cases Chief Commissioner Watkins, former Senator Arthur Watkins from Utah, has established an accelerated program for the handling and disposition of those Indian cases, and over a 3-year period he contemplates the disposition of 33 cases per year. Many cases have reached the stage where they are about ready for valuation trials and others have been almost concluded. A great many have been concluded. This Department-and I know Mr. Clark feels this way, too, because we have discussed it-wants to do everything we can to accommodate Senator Watkins in this
program he is undertaking. For that reason we contemplate entering into many appraisal contracts for the appraisal of Indian lands and many contracts with other experts to aid in the determination of the liability questions.
At this time, so far to date under the Claims Commission Act, in addition to the many final judgments which have been entered, there have been 76 cases where the Government has been found to be liable for a total of approximately 346 million acres of land. Of those 76 cases, most are part way along the line from the standpoint of appraisals. Either we have appraisers employed or they have partially completed their work. Some have wholly completed their work and some of the trials have been completed as to valuation but no results have been announced by the Commission. Twelve of those seventy-six cases have not yet had any appraisal work done on them. Those cases will be set down for early trial by Senator Watkins. The
first thing we would like to do it to get into appraisal contracts on those cases and get them ready for trial just as fast as we can.
EXPERT WITNESS FEES
I would like to say, too, in connection with expert witness fees, that it is a fact that during the last year or the last 2 years the fees for expert witnesses for their court testimony have increased in some cases up to about 50 percent. We are not asking for a 50-percent increase here in appraisal costs. We are asking for roughly 24 percent. That is a very modest request. We feel—and I know Mr. Clark feels this way about it because we have discussed it--we feel that it is poor economy to try to save a little money on an appraisal where you have vast amounts of money riding on it. We feel it is unfair to the courts not to have the very best information we can get as to the valuation of these properties. We feel it is unfair to the Department of Justice, and we feel it is unfair to the landowners.
I would like to add that when we get good appraisals and have good men to testify for us, we can reach a settlement much easier than we can if we have a bad appraisal, because our good men will get pretty close to the actual value of a case and we will take it from there. As a matter of policy we want to settle as many cases as possible. We think that is advantageous to the landowner as well as to the Government. We cannot do it unless we get proper appraisals.
AVIGATION EASEMENT CASES
The third reason for the additional funds is the increase in the avigation easement cases that we will have in our General Litigation Section. They involve valuation of property and the extent to which that value has been decreased by frequent low-flying airplane passages above that land. I do not see any way we can properly handle these cases with less money than we have requested. Certainly if we do not have enough money, the only alternatives are to go to trial with inadequate preparation or to postpone the trial of these cases until money is available, which would increase the liability of the Government for interest which probably would far exceed the all amount we are asking here. Actually, the interest cost to the United States on judgments, not incorporated in settlements, is running at the rate of about $3,000 a day, I believe.
INTEREST ON CONDEMNATION DEFICIENCY JUDGMENTS
Mr. Rogers. For the first 6 months of this year, paid in interest on condemnation deficiency judgments other than settlements, $313,693.
Mr. WILLIAMS. Over $300,000 for the first 6 months of this fiscal year have gone out in interest.
Mr. Rogers. In 1960 fiscal year, last year, we paid $880,855.
Mr. WILLIAMS. Those are only in cases where judgments have actually been entered. If we are trying to settle a case and the attorney for the landowner knows he has a very substantial item in there represented by interest if the case goes to judgment, he will take that item into consideration when he talks settlement with us. In effect, it is merged into the settlement, but the extent to which it represents an actual part of the dollar settlement, we have no way of knowing
SUMMARY OF REQUESTED INCREASE
The thing that impresses me about this is that based upon our available appraisal money for this year, which very likely will not be enough, and based upon our current workload and the additional work which we know we will get, and based upon our desire to cooperate with Senator Watkins in the accelerated Indian claims trial program, this amount we are requesting will not be enough. I anticipate that when we start the 1962 fiscal year on the land acquisition front, we will have pending more cases than we have had pending at any time since the close of World War II, and at that time we had many more employees than we have now to handle the work.
Mr. ROONEY. Mr. Bow? Mr. Bow. Can you tell us what you paid in appraisers' fees in 1960 ? Mr. WILLIAMS. Yes, sir; $1,142,514. Mr. Bow. Then what did you pay out for expert witnesses? Mr. WILLIAMS. That is for expert witnesses, expert witnesses and appraisers.
Mr. Bow. I would like to have a breakdown of the two.
Mr. WILLIAMS. They are the same. An appraiser is also an expert witness in a condemnation case on the valuation question.
Mr. Bow. In other words, you pay him first for an appraisal, and then you pay him as an expert witness. Mr. WILLIAMS. Yes, sir.
Mr. Bow. Some of your appraisers never reach the point of being expert witnesses, do they?
Mfr. WILLIAMS. Actually, if a case is settled, it is not required for them to testify.
Mr. Bow. You do not have a breakdown of what you paid out for appraisers and what you paid out for experts?
Mr. WILLIAMS. I do not believe we could break it down to that extent. If a man is employed as an appraiser, we also select for that purpose a man who is qualified to testify in Federal court on valuation.
Mr. Bow. Do you use all your appraisers as experts in these cases?
Mr. WILLIAMS. If we have to try the case, but we do settle a great many cases.
EXPERT WITNESS FEES
Mr. Bow. What do you pay an expert witness? Mr. WILLIAMS. It depends upon the type of property. If oil or mineral values are involved, if we have to get a leading expert in the field, we might have to go up to $200 or maybe even $250 a day. The average qualified appraiser employed by us, say, to evaluate an office property here in the District of Columbia or in Los Angeles or any other metropolitan place, we probably would have to pay $150 a day for his testimony.
Mr. Bow. How many expert witnesses have you had in 1960 ?