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BENSON v. GSA

January 4, 1968

Henry BENSON, Plaintiff,
v.
GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION, Defendant



The opinion of the court was delivered by: LINDBERG

 This action has been filed under the Information Act 5 U.S.C. Section 552 effective July 4, 1967 to enjoin the General Services Administration from withholding certain agency records and to order the production of those records as improperly withheld from the plaintiff. The records involved are defendant's exhibits A through L, which were received by the court in camera. A brief general description of the contents of these exhibits follows:

 A. Disposal Plan dated February 19, 1962, removed from the Disposal Plan Folder. The Disposal Plan is a five page memorandum prepared solely for internal use pursuant to GSA procedures regarding the disposal of surplus real property. It was prepared by a GSA realty officer as a recommendation to the regional office Chief, Real Property Division, Utilization and Disposal Service (UDS), which is now the Property Management and Disposal Service (PMDS). In this case, approval of the GSA Central Office also was required. The Disposal Plan details the most efficient division of the property for disposal, based on consideration of the potential use and fair market values (which are discussed) of the various portions of the Auburn General Depot. In addition to recommending the out-right sale of some parcels, it recommended transfer of a portion to GSA for its own use and interim out-leasing of another portion. Once the plan was approved, it was to be followed by the regional office in making the disposal.

 B. Memorandum dated June 15, 1962, removed from the Sealed Bid Sale Folder. This memorandum was prepared by Realty Officer R. A. Stuart as a recommendation to the Chief, Real Property Division, UDS, regarding the disposition of bids received in response to GSA's invitation for bids for Sale No. 1OUR-32. The memorandum evaluated the high bids for each parcel as compared with fair market value and recommended a course of action on the bid of Diamond Ice and Storage Company on Parcel 1, the amended bid of the group later to become Auburn Industrial Center on Parcel 2, and the alternate lease-purchase bid of a similar group on Parcel 3. This memorandum was used as a guide for higher authority and as a record of the reasons for the action taken.

 C. TWX dated June 18, 1962, from Regional Administrator to Commissioner, UDS, requesting authority to deviate from standard credit terms if the alternate bid for lease and purchase of Parcel 3 were accepted, removed from Sealed Bid Sale Folder. Any award on the alternate lease-purchase bid could have been considered a deviation from standard credit terms, which at that time were 20% down on closing with the balance to be paid in equal quarterly installments over 10 years. Approval for any deviation had to be obtained from the Central Office. The TWX compares the alternate bid with the fair market value for the parcel.

 D. Memorandum dated June 19, 1962, from the Commissioner, UDS, to The Administrator requesting authority to make awards on the disposal, removed from the Sealed Bid Sale Folder. Due to the dollar value of the disposal, the Administrator's approval of awards was required. The memorandum discusses the bids as compared with fair market value.

 F. Appraisal Report dated May 31, 1961, prepared solely for GSA's use by contract appraiser Fred W. Darnell, MAI, removed from Appraisal Report Folder. This report contains the appraiser's conclusions and supporting data for his appraisal of the Auburn General Depot.

 G. Memorandum dated January 31, 1962, from Regional Appraiser to Chief, Real Property Division, removed from Appraisal Report Folder and Appraisal Division Folder No. 3. This memorandum sets forth the fair market value for specific proposed sale parcels and fair rental value for warehouse space.

 H. Memorandum dated June 1, 1962, from Regional Appraiser to Chief, Real Property Division, removed from Appraisal Report Folder and Appraisal Division Folder No. 1. This memorandum sets forth the approved fair market values for the specific parcels included in Sale No. 10UR-32. This was the major basis for the bid evaluations for the sale.

 I. Memorandum from Director, Appraisal Staff to Regional Director, UDS, dated May 31, 1962, removed from Appraisal Division Folder No. 1. This lists the approved fair market and fair rental values for the parcels included in Sale No. 10UR-32.

 J. Reviewer's Appraisal Analysis of the supplemental appraisal report for the sale and lease parcels, removed from the Appraisal Division Folder No. 1. This form contains an analysis of the soundness of the appraiser's methods and conclusions, and lists the fair market and fair rental values for the sale parcels.

 K. 101 page Supplemental Appraisal Report dated May 21, 1962, prepared solely for GSA's use by contract appraiser Fred W. Darnell, MAI, covering the specific parcels in GSA Sale 10UR-32. This was a supplement to the report which is exhibit F., and was for the same use.

 L. This exhibit contains a number of subunits. Clipped to the folder marked exhibit L, and not further identified, is some GSA correspondence regarding fair market values of the various parcels included in the Auburn General Depot. In addition, there are various separately subnumbered exhibits within the main folder, as follows:

 
(1) contains an appraisal of the fair market value of some railroad trackage included in the Depot.
 
(2) contains a memorandum of the Regional Appraiser regarding a valuation of 110 acres of land at the Auburn Depot, including parcels 2 and 3.
 
(3) contains a TWX from the Chief, Real Property Division, UDS to the Assistant Commissioner for Real Property UDS, comparing fair market values and bids received on the various parcels included in the sealed bid sale. It also includes credit reports on some members of the partnership, prepared by GSA personnel, and a Dun and Bradstreet credit report on the Diamond Ice and Storage Co. furnished by Dun and Bradstreet to GSA in "strict confidence."
 
(4) GSA correspondence advising the Administrator with regard to the disposal plan ...

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