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UNITED STATES v. FRUEHAUF ET AL.

decided: February 20, 1961.

UNITED STATES
v.
FRUEHAUF ET AL.



APPEAL FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK.

Warren, Black, Frankfurter, Douglas, Clark, Harlan, Brennan, Whittaker, Stewart

Author: Frankfurter

[ 365 U.S. Page 147]

 MR. JUSTICE FRANKFURTER delivered the opinion of the Court.

On June 17, 1959, an indictment in two counts was filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York against appellees Roy Fruehauf, Fruehauf Trailer Co., Burge Seymour, Associated Transport, Inc., and Brown Equipment and Manufacturing Co. (hereinafter referred to collectively as the Fruehauf-Seymour group)*fn1 and appellee Dave Beck. The first count, based on § 302 (a) of the Labor Management Relations Act, 1947, 61 Stat. 157, 29 U. S. C. § 186 (a), which makes it unlawful "for any employer to pay or deliver, or to agree to pay or deliver, any money or other thing of value to any representative of any of his employees who are employed in an industry affecting commerce,"*fn2 charged that on or about June 21, 1954, each of the appellees of the Fruehauf-Seymour group, employers of employees engaged in an industry affecting commerce,

"did unlawfully, wilfully and knowingly pay and deliver and agree to pay and deliver to Dave Beck,

[ 365 U.S. Page 148]

     President, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Chauffeurs, Warehousemen and Helpers of America, a representative of the aforesaid employees, a thing of value, to wit, money, in the amount of $200,000."

The second count, based on § 302 (b), 61 Stat. 157, 29 U. S. C. § 186 (b), and similarly couched in the words of the statute,*fn3 charged that Beck had received and accepted, and agreed to receive and accept, from the appellees of the Fruehauf-Seymour group, $200,000. All of the appellees entered pleas of not guilty; after various pretrial proceedings, during the course of which "trial memoranda" were submitted by the Government and by several of the appellees, the case came on for trial. At the outset of the hearing, the district judge suggested that if, as he was advised by the trial memoranda of certain among the appellees, any of them intended to move for dismissal of the indictment, such a motion should be made at that time. Counsel for the appellees replied that they "would be in a better position to address ourselves to the grounds for a dismissal after the government had made an opening here, . . . if on inquiry in this pretrial, preliminary conference, the government conceded certain positions that it has conceded at arraignment and other places in

[ 365 U.S. Page 149]

     the minutes." The district judge then read into the record an extended excerpt from the Government's trial memorandum*fn4 which purported to outline the "facts which support the charge and which the government intends to prove." These were: (A) That Beck asked Roy Fruehauf to "lend him $200,000," which "loan" was subsequently discussed at a meeting of Fruehauf and attorneys for Beck and Fruehauf Trailer Co.; that after unsuccessful attempts to "place the loan" with officers of various banks, "Fruehauf and Burge Seymour found it necessary to arrange the loan without the aid of financial institutions and, instead, processed it through the Fruehauf Trailer Co. (Roy Fruehauf, president), Associated Transport Co. (Burge Seymour, president), and the latter's wholly owned subsidiary Brown Equipment and Manufacturing Co." (B) That "The method by which this otherwise simple transfer of $200,000.00 from Fruehauf to Beck was effected is a fairly complex one, apparently caused by difficulties encountered by the defendant employers in effectuating what they have called a 'loan' but without officers of their corporations learning of the transaction." (C) That "The details of this circuitous financing operations [ sic ]" were as follows: Inasmuch as "Neither Fruehauf nor Seymour wished to effect the loan by use of personal funds," and "neither Fruehauf nor Seymour felt that their respective corporations could overtly finance the transfer of funds in such an amount without embarrassing themselves," it was determined that

[ 365 U.S. Page 150]

     the Brown Company "would actually make the transfer to Beck." Thereupon, (1) on June 21, 1954, Fruehauf Trailer Co. "transferred" $175,000 by check to Brown in exchange for Brown's $175,000 promissory note, payable December 30, 1954, and "purporting to bear interest in the amount of 5% per annum," whereas, in fact, "no interest was ever paid to, or even anticipated by, Fruehauf or his corporation." (2) Brown, on the same date, transferred $200,000 to Beck in return for Beck's promissory note for that amount at 4% per annum, payable December 30, 1954 -- a Brown check requisition form which falsely listed the object of this transfer being explained by Seymour as intended to conceal from "the people in Associated . . . that Beck was borrowing Associated funds." (3) Associated, on the same date, transferred $200,000 to Brown. One week later, Brown returned to Associated $175,000, the amount lent Brown by Fruehauf. On December 30, 1954, "after Seymour had renegotiated the loan with Manufacturers Trust Co.," Brown returned the remaining $25,000 to Associated. ("It should be noted that Beck was supposed to, but did not, repay the 'loan' to Brown by December 30, 1954.") (4) On December 27, 1954, Seymour borrowed $200,000 at 4% per annum for 90 days from Manufacturers Trust Co., collateralizing the loan with Beck's note and obligations of Fruehauf, Seymour and others, including an attorney for Fruehauf Trailer Co. (5) Seymour paid $2,066.66 interest to Manufacturers Trust, and by check dated March 30, 1955, returned the $200,000 loan to the bank. (6) "Beck paid the $200,000 loan from Brown by remitting to Seymour $163,215. on or about April 11, 1955, and $36,785. on or about June 30, 1955, which Seymour endorsed to Brown." (7) "Only $4,000 interest, approximately half of the interest due, was actually paid and that was remitted in the form of a check . . . [from Fruehauf Trailer Co.'s attorney] to Seymour."

[ 365 U.S. Page 151]

     Having read this portion of the Government's memorandum for the purpose of making known to the appellees "the government's position, at least on the matter of the loan," the district judge ruled that "in my view that statement by the government is a judicial admission that the transaction was a loan. As a matter of fact, to verify that belief, the government later argues in its brief that the use of the money was a thing of value. So at least, so far as I am concerned, there can be no dispute that the government's position is that this was a loan, and we are now resolved to the question of whether a loan under these circumstances was illegal under the statute . . . ."

"On the basis of the disclosure by the Court of what the Court understands to be a judicial admission by the government," the court then asked, again, whether appellees wished to be heard on a motion to dismiss. At this point, government counsel interposed "to communicate one thought to the Court that may not have been communicated by my brief." He stated:

"Despite the fact that there is the repeated use of the word 'loan' in the government's advance outline before the Court, caused by the fact that the government's case in large part is as asserted by these defendants as the trial will reflect as it proceeds, nevertheless the government's position on the ...


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