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Barth v. Platt

Supreme Court of Arizona

March 25, 1940

JACOB BARTH, Outgoing Administrator of the Estate of C. F. MONTROSS, Deceased, Appellant,
v.
EARL PLATT, Administrator of the Estate of C. F. MONTROSS, Deceased; Mrs. GEORGE KRAMER and Mrs. BARBARA S. PUGH, Appellees

APPEAL from an order of the Superior Court of the County of Apache. C. C. Faires, Judge. Order appealed from affirmed.

Mr. Terrence A. Carson and Mr. Maurice Barth, for Appellant.

Mr. Earl Platt in Propria Persona.

No appearance for other appellees.

OPINION

Page 590

[55 Ariz. 242] McALISTER, J.

C. F. Montross, a resident of St. Johns, Arizona, and the owner and publisher at that place of the "St. Johns Observer," a weekly newspaper, died intestate on February 23, 1937, leaving no relatives in this state, and the following day appellant, Jacob Barth, was appointed special administrator, and a month later administrator of the estate, which consisted principally of the newspaper and the equipment with which it was published. On August 9, 1937, the order revoking his letters of administration was made by the superior court of Apache county upon the petition of Earl Platt. At the same time and upon the latter's petition letters were ordered issued to him upon his filing a bond in the sum of $5,000, which was done on August 16, 1937. On August 25, 1937, Barth appealed from the order revoking his letters and appointing Platt administrator by giving notice and filing a supersedeas bond in the sum of $1,500, and on May 2, 1938, both orders were affirmed by this court. Barth v. Platt, 52 Ariz. 33, 78 P.2d 995. On the 18th of April, 1938, two weeks before the order of affirmance, Jacob Barth filed his final account and report as administrator of the estate and to that report the newly appointed administrator, Earl Platt, filed exceptions on June 7, 1938, and two claimants, Mrs. George Kramer and Mrs. Barbara S. Pugh, did so a few days later. Many of these were sustained and from the order upholding them the former administrator, Jacob Barth, appeals.

According to the final account and report the estate consisted of the weekly newspaper, the "St. Johns Observer, " the equipment with which it was published, and certain other items of personal property, including an automobile and bills due the "Observer" on [55 Ariz. 243] account of advertising and subscriptions and was appraised at $1,365.

Claims totaling $2,334.25 were presented to the administrator for allowance and all of these, except two amounting to $582.76, were approved. These included $660.30 for expenses of last sickness and burial, $422.80 for administration, $58 for two preferred labor claims and $610.30 by general creditors. In addition to these the Barth Mercantile Company claimed a landlord's lien amounting to $540 as rental for three years at $15 per month for the building in which the "Observer" was published and also a chattel mortgage on the equipment of the "Observer" in the sum of $1,120, though no claim for either of these items was filed with the administrator; $145 in fees was asked for the services of the special administrator.

The amount derived from the sale of the property, according to the account and report was $2,500, one-half of which was received for the newspaper equipment and the other half for its good will, accounts receivable and some other personal property.

The disbursements, according to the report, were $660.30 for the expenses of the last sickness and burial; $58 for two preferred labor claims and $422.80 expenses of administrator. In addition to these the administrator paid the Barth Mercantile Company $540 for rent and satisfied its

Page 591

landlord's lien, and also $791.90 in satisfaction of a chattel mortgage on the equipment. None of the claims of the general creditors amounting to $610.30, was paid.

The new administrator filed objections to many of the items of the account and report, among which were these: First, continuing the decedent's business without authority from the court and without accounting to the court for the amount received and expended in doing so; second, the sale of the property of the estate [55 Ariz. 244] at a date subsequent to that on which the administrator's letters had been revoked and without first filing a petition and obtaining the authority to sell the property; third, the payment to the Barth Mercantile Company of $540 for rent to release the landlord's lien and $791.90 to satisfy the chattel mortgage on equipment, both having been paid without authority from the court and without the presentation of claims. He asked that the court declare these payments invalid and disapprove them; that the retiring administrator be required to deliver to the new administrator all the property received by him as administrator; that he be charged rent for the ...


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