STEELE V. UNITED STATES, 113 U. S. 128 (1885)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Steele v. United States, 113 U.S. 128 (1885)

Steele v. United States

Submitted December 22, 1884

Decided January 19, 1885

113 U.S. 128


A private sale of old material arising from the breaking up of a vessel of war, made by an officer of the Navy Department to a contractor for repairs of a war vessel and machinery, is a violation of the provisions of § 1541 Rev.Stat.

The allowance of the estimated value of such material in the settlement of

Page 113 U. S. 129

such contractor's accounts is a violation of the provisions of § 3618 Rev.Stat.

A settlement of such accounts at the Navy Department and at the Treasury, in which the contractor was debited with the material at the estimated value, does not preclude the United States from showing that the estimates were far below the real value, and from recovering the difference between the amount allowed and the real value.

Delay in enforcing a claim arising out of an illegal sale of property of the United States at a value far below its real worth cannot be set up as a bar to the recovery of its value.

This was an appeal from the Court of Claims. See 19 Ct.Cl. 182. The facts are stated in the opinion of the Court.

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