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Page:Oregon Historical Quarterly volume 12.djvu/102

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94 F. G. YOUNG and had the use of the lands free, until later, when the pur- chase-money was demanded when they could and did quite fre- quently vacate. 1 This same investigation of 1870-1 disclosed four instances in which the purchase-money for lands had been sent to the Secretary of State, S. E. May, ex-officio member of the Board of School Land Commissioners, and he had "converted the same to his own use and did not account therefor to the Board." The sums embezzled aggregated $652.50. When the stream of inflow of land-sales money did get under way toward the state treasury in 1870 the conditions affecting it are still interesting though outrageous. The Legislative "Committee of Investigation" of 1878 brings out facts that exhibit the administrations from 1870 to 1878 holding high car- nival with these moneys. Thirty-six thousand six hundred forty-four dollars and nine cents were paid for clerical serv- ices during this period in this department of the state's affairs. Almost all of this sum went to men who were receiving sep- arate salaries as either private secretary to the governor or as assistant state treasurer. This sum the Committee of Investi- gation holds was a "disgraceful waste," for of the records of the state's land business it says : "If the purpose had been to con- ceal under the pretense of exhibiting the real transactions of the land department, they could not have succeeded better." The raiding of the public interest is still further exhibited. The swamp land account, for instance, up to 1878 amounted to $42,989.34, of which "$20,736.35 had been paid to the Treasurer and $22,252.99 paid out for expenses and returned to purchasers." A case is cited where a man is paid $1,604 as attorney fees for defending the state's claim to a tract which constituted a portion of the land that this same man was under contract to pay the state $800 for. 2 Much of the loss to which this inflow of funds was subjected occurred in connection with dealings in direct violation of the i Report of the Investigating Commission, 1872, pp. 134-140. zReport of the Committee of Investigation, 1878, pp. 6-18.